Brazil's flag at sunrise

Why the Decline is Natural – And Could Be Positive

Transparency International recently released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, and Brazil has fallen in the rankings. On its face, this seems like bad news, but Patricia Punder has a different take on the matter.

Last week, Transparency International published its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, encompassing 180 countries around the world. Brazil again fell in the rankings, but this should not be cause for fright or confusion for Brazilians. Since the enactment of Brazil’s anticorruption law, the country has finally started to speak publicly about corruption and take the first steps to fight this evil. We stopped sweeping corruption under the rug, and our society, which is known for the sentiment, “he steals, but does something,” is finally looking the problem right in the eyes.

The king was naked, and at long last, everyone had the courage to express to tell him so. Brazil’s ranking this year as 105 out of 180 countries is the result of the fact that we started, as a society, to confront corruption in a more transparent and almost effective way. It brought the problem to light in all its depth and breadth. Unfortunately, it also revealed the issue to be systemic, with roots at all levels of government and private enterprise.

Never in the history of Brazil have people had access to information about how much harm corruption causes to society as a whole. Today, one can ask any random citizen on the street about the subject of corruption and expect the individual to have formed an opinion on the matter and be able to cite examples, familiar cases and even his or her personal revolt.

Incredibly, we can speak with pride almost that the vast majority of the population knows the formation of the Supreme Court. This does not exist anywhere else in the world today. Ask an American or a German if they know the composition of the Supreme Court of their respective countries. Corruption, consequences, sessions of the Congress/Senate, polls of the Brazilian Supreme Court/Superior Court of Justice – these became the agenda of our lives a few years ago.

Therefore, as society persists in its confrontation of corruption, both through monitoring and by the voter charging their respective legislative representatives, this negative effect – the decline of Brazil in the perception of corruption index – will gradually begin to reverse. Ultimately, there will certainly be a perception of greater control by the government and society regarding corruption. We still have a long way to go in Brazil, but the most important thing we’ve already achieved, and that was just the first step. Finally, corruption is laid bare!

This article was originally published on LinkedIn and is republished here with the author’s permission.

Patricia Punder

Patricia Punder is a compliance officer certified by the Ethics & Compliance Office Association (ECOA), Fordham University and the CPA – LEC Certification Board. She is also one of the winners of the “Compliance on Top 2018” award, promoted by Legal, Ethics & Compliance (LEC) and VITTORE Partners – Legal | Tax | Compliance & Government Affairs.

Patricia is a seasoned lawyer with over 20 years of experience practicing law, including 10 years with a focus in compliance, DOJ/SEC investigations and corporate integrity. She has experience in implementing compliance programs in Brazil and Latin America; leading response processes to FCPA violations in LATAM due DOJ/SEC investigations; and dealing with international authorities such as the FBI, INTERPOL and the Brazilian Federal Policy during a global cartel operation. She is a project leader for the implementation of ethics compliance committees in Slovakia, Mexico, Italy, the United States and China. Patricia has a solid knowledge of internal controls and SOX.

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