Halt the White Collar Crime

by Ngagne Fall, a New American in New York (originally from Senegal, and via France)        

Whether from New York, London or Reykjavik the financial news is still dominated recently by top executives’ accounting scandals. Brought to light by the famous vibrancy of Enron at the end of 2000, top executive wrongdoing has, since that time, broadened out to the most famous business and financial centers of the world.  This willful misconduct could have been avoided beforehand by enhancing transparency in corporate accounting, ordering guiltless probity among executives, and forbidding any conflict of interest.

In people’s minds the financial world is too complicated, understandable only by specialists. This view is widely shared.  In such circumstances, it can be easy and attractive for executive boards of big corporations to veil their dishonest practices under technical jargon or digital code. These tricks must yield under pressure of real policies of transparency which allow people who are interested and authorities to receive information that reflects the factual economic and financial situation of a given corporation.

Besides, a background check on morality in business management of  candidates should precede any appointment.  By this mean, corporations can be protect from unethical behavior of a scheming manager.

Of all these ethical problems mentioned above, conflict of interest remain the most recurring despite a full array of  ethics rules or codes of conduct.  In order to ensure loyalty of top executives to their current companies rather than personal interest, it is necessary to adopt administrative penalties as well as pursue criminal prosecution.

In the aftermath of the damage of an economic crisis due mainly to the malfeasance of some top executives, the need for ethical reforms that could bridle the greedy is overwhelming.  Government or the political powers should immediately take the bull by the horns.

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