Interview Questions: Bribes and Kickbacks

Questions that might reveal the payment of bribes and kickbacks include:

  • Do you know or suspect, or have you heard, that kickbacks are being paid?

Questions to identify parties and potential witnesses include:

  • Please identify all persons and organizations that might be involved in suspect transactions, including all:
    • Contractors
    • Subcontractors
    • Suppliers
    • Agents or middlemen
    • Project or government officials
  • Have any bidders filed protests or complaints or voiced suspicions?
  • Are any unnecessary or questionable agents or middlemen involved in any contracts?
  • Are any agents or middlemen paid unreasonably high fees?
  • Do any project or government officials refer contractors to certain suppliers, subcontractors or agents?

Questions about selection and performance include:

  • Are questionable selection methods, e.g., unjustified sole source awards, employed?
  • Do any contractors charge unreasonably high prices, which are accepted by project or government officials?
  • Do any contractors receive an unusually high volume of contracts?
  • Is the quality of any contractor’s work consistently unsatisfactory, but accepted by project or government officials?
  • Do any contractors consistently miss delivery or completion dates without penalty?
  • Do any contractors receive questionable, or an unusually high number of, change orders?

Questions about the behavior of the project or government officials include:

  • Do any project or government officials:
    • Give favorable treatment to certain contractors?
    • Routinely ignore or excuse poor or late service by particular contractors?
    • Have an unusual interest in the selection or success of a particular contractor, or in a particular contract?
    • Take any actions with regard to certain contractors, or contracts, that are outside, or below, their normal duties?
    • Routinely ignore standard policy and procedure to benefit a certain contractor?

Questions about the relationship between parties include:

  • Is there close socialization or a “less than arm’s length relationship” between any contractor and project or government officials?
  • Do any project or government officials:
    • Accept inappropriate gifts, travel or entertainment from any contractors?
    • Display new or unexplained wealth?
    • Appear to have financial problems?
    • Officials have outside business interests or companies?
  • Have all project and government officials filed required conflict of interest and financial disclosure forms?

Questions about contract documentation include:

  • Do any contractors submit inflated or questionable invoices, or fail to provide adequate documentation for them?
  • Do any project or government officials routinely ignore or tolerate the submission of inadequate documentation by certain contractors?
  • Are change order requests and payments adequately documented for all contractors?
  • Are controls and procedures to prevent bribes and kickbacks in place and enforced?