1.1 Full House is committed to principles of good corporate governance and requires all employees to have high standards of business and personal ethics while performing their duties and responsibilities. The purpose of this policy is to encourage and enable individuals to report suspected or actual violations by Full House employees of law, policy, mismanagement, waste, fraud, bribery, dishonesty, conflict of interest, misconduct, or abuse of authority with regards to work matters, so that they can be addressed.
1.2 The below definitions serve as a guide to some of the violations mentioned above:
1.2.1 Fraud is any intentional act or omission designed to deceive others, resulting in the victim suffering a loss and/or the perpetrator achieving gain.
1.2.2 Abuse is often a way to describe a variety of petty crimes and other counterproductive behaviour, which have become common and even silently condoned in the workplace.
1.2.3 Occupational fraud and abuse can be defined as the deliberate use of ones’ occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the company’s resources or assets.
1.2.4 Theft is the unlawful removal of property (corporeal or personal) with the intent of not returning it.
1.2.5 Forgery is committed by making a false document, or altering something on a document, with the intent to defraud.
1.2.6 Perjury is an intentional false statement given under oath on a material point of issue.
1.2.7 Extortion is when one person intentionally pressurizes another to perform a task or part with assets which they would not have otherwise intended.
1.2.8 Conflict of interest is a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interest of both parties. This includes when an individual's personal interests or concerns are inconsistent with the best for a customer, when an employee's personal interests are contrary to his/her loyalty to business interest.
1.2.9 Corruption is operationally defined as the misuse of an entrusted power for private gain. Any person who gives or accepts any gratification to act in an improper exercise or performance power or duty is guilty of the offence of corruption.
2 .1 This policy applies to all Full House employees, customers, suppliers, service providers and members of the public.
3. PROTECTED DISCLOSURES
3.1 As per the Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000, reports and/or complaints submitted by Whistle-blowers qualify as protected disclosures and Full House is obligated to take the necessary steps within its power to protect the Whistle-blower from any occupational or other detriments, if their complaint is:
3.1.1 reported using the available internal channels.
3.1.2 reported in good faith.
3.1.3 the Whistle-blower was not involved in the actual or alleged violation that they are reporting.
3.2 It goes against the values of Full House for anyone to retaliate against, harass or victimize a Whistle-blower, who in good faith, reports suspected or actual violations. If an employee does retaliate against a Whistle-blower, they will face disciplinary steps, which could result in termination of employment.
3.3 In terms of the Protected Disclosures Act, employees can blow the whistle on fraud and corruption in the working environment without the fear of suffering an occupational detriment as defined by the Act. Full House management encourages staff to raise matters of concern responsibly through the procedures laid down in this policy document.
4. ACTING IN GOOD FAITH
4.1 Anyone who submits a complaint about a violation or suspected violation, must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing that the violation has occurred or will occur.
4.2 If allegations are made that cannot be backed-up, or are done spitefully, or are known to be false, they will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense if made by a Full House employee, and if made by an external party, appropriate action will be taken.
4.3 In terms of the Protected Disclosures Act, people who make false and malicious allegations that cause harm to the affected party, may be criminally charged with an offence and may be liable, on conviction, to a fine or to imprisonment or to both.
5.1 When a violation is reported, the company will, as far as possible, strive to keep the Whistle-blower’s identity confidential.
5.2 It should be noted though, that the company will need to conduct an adequate investigation into the matter and during that process, the source of the information may inadvertently be revealed and/or a statement may be required from the Whistle-blower as part of the evidence.
5.3 However, no person will be forced to give evidence if they chose not to.
5.4 All information and documents related to an investigation is considered confidential and will not be disclosed to any party unless the company is required to do so because of legal proceedings.
6. REPORTING PROCEDURE
6.1 To ensure that the complainant is protected as per the Protected Disclosures Act and to ensure that investigation of the report remains independent, the company encourages reports being made directly to the Full House Fraud Specialist or Chairperson of the Social and Ethics Committee.
6.2 When making a complaint or submitting a report, individuals are encouraged to set out the background and history of the matter, giving names, dates, and places where possible, as well as the reason for concern. Any proof, such as bank statements, purchase orders, invoices, photos, electronic messages etc. should be included with the report.
6.3 Reports can be made verbally, via telephone call, e-mail, WhatsApp or via the company website. The relevant contact details are provided below.
7. ANONYMOUS ALLEGATIONS
7.1 When reporting an incident, it may be done anonymously. However, an anonymous report is difficult to investigate so individuals are encouraged to put their name to an allegation made by them, but it is not compulsory. Alternatively, the complainant can provide an anonymous email address or other details on which they may be contacted, without revealing their identity, should further information be required during the investigation.
7.2 The decision to follow up on anonymous allegations will be at the discretion of the Managing Director, Financial Director and Fraud Specialist and will take into consideration the seriousness and credibility of the matter and the likelihood of confirming the allegation.
8. HOW A CONCERN WILL BE DEALT WITH
8.1 When a complaint is received, and the relevant internal parties have been informed, the Fraud Specialist will send an acknowledgement of receipt to the complainant.
8.2 The complaint will then be logged by the Fraud Specialist in the Full House Whistle-blowing register.
8.3 This will be followed by a preliminary review which will determine whether further investigation needs to be done.
8.4 If further investigation is necessary, the matter will be referred to the relevant Regional Manager and/or Department Head.
8.5 The Whistle-blower will be informed within 21 days after receiving the complaint whether further investigation will take place or not.
8.6 If the relevant parties dealing with the complaint are unable to decide within 21 days whether to investigate it further or not, the Whistle-blower must be informed of this and given regular updates on the progress of the matter.
8.7 Once the investigation is concluded and the matter resolved, the Fraud Specialist will provide feedback to the Whistle-blower on the outcome.
8.8 If, after a concern or report has been investigated, the internal procedures, policies and/or check and balances are found to be wanting, the Fraud Specialist, in conjunction with Management, will review and where possible improve the controls to prevent a similar transgression occurring in the future.
9. REPORTING CRIMINAL OFFENCES TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE FORCE
9.1 Where a report or complaint reveals that an individual (or individuals) has committed or is suspected of committing a crime, such as theft or fraud, this will be reported to the nearest police station.
10. CONTACT DETAILS / REPORTING CHANNELS
WhatsApp – 0833199255 (Fraud Specialist, Internal only)
Website – Link to form https://www.cognitoforms.com/FullHouseRetail1/WhistleblowerForm
Whistle-blower E-mail - Fraud@mackenzie.co.za
Fraud Specialist contact details - 0215264343/0833199255 (Cell internal only)
Chairman of Social & Ethics Committee e-mail – Ethics@mackenzie.co.za