Compliance investigations have increased exponentially, since compliance programs were consolidated in companies globally. One of the most renowned guides establishing pillars for compliance programs - Guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - FCPA), published by the US Department of Justice, refers to internal investigations as an important enforcement tool to search for eventual misconduct and application of disciplinary measures compatible with the seriousness of the situation.
Such investigations, as a rule, have the purpose of verifying the truth of denunciations, anonymous or not, about the misconduct of individuals, which can cause different types of risks to the organization.
In the course of a compliance investigation process, the investigation report is an extremely important step to confirm the success of the exhaustive work of looking for evidence since it needs to accurately narrate the steps taken and the traces, clues and evidence found.
However, some mistakes can compromise the effectiveness of a job well done. Such misunderstandings include the following:
- Absence of an executive summary that lists the relevant information.
- Information presented without a temporal and logical sequence, in a disorganized way.
- Opinions or interpretations about facts, without causal link or robust references to facts or data.
- A relevant interpretation or opinion based only on an evidence or data source, when the crossing of evidences or data sources would be crucial for the precise outcome.
- Information that is unnecessary and does not contribute to the object of the investigation.
- Failure to consider alternative interpretations, when facts and data enable more than one interpretation.
- Lack of clarity in the strategy of the investigation to arrive at its objective.
- Failure to explore all available data sources to achieve the result.
- Use of inappropriate language, such as biased phrases, technical jargon or derogatory terms.
- Inconclusive results are not adequately explained about a given data source, which was not made available, despite being requested.
Every investigator must always base his / her work on facts and data and consider that the result of his / her work can significantly impact the lives of individuals. Therefore, different values must be given to traces, clues and evidence.