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Customs Duty?

Customs Duty? When travelling nationally?

Since taking on a new role, I have been pondering what appropriate subjects for this blog are, these days, and have therefore been blogging-silent. When I read this reflection, however, on an attempt to work in Africa, in this case on a film project, I wanted to share it on this blog.

“Is it possible to do business in country XY without corruption?” is a question I read/hear quite frequently. The question arises, even if the business in country XY would be classified as a ‘good cause’. Doing a film project on the tough living conditions in country XY could be such a good cause.

The reason I read this account of working in Africa is a sad one. As for the text itself, I would not have wanted to miss it: Michael Glawogger’s account of working in Africa is full of details for the many shades of grey that are often turned into black or white in the Compliance discussion, when talking about obstacles to a business venture, and the many approaches to overcoming of such obstacles. Wondering why “customs duty” would have to be paid when passing a police barrier nationally, ie within the country, is just one of the details he reveals. He also wonders whether the extra money he is asked to pay can be compared to a New York waiter asking for his tip and which one of them is more direct in his demands.

I hope you can read his German-language blog. If not, you have to find the many shades of grey in his films. And in his interviews.


Marianne Klausberger is an English lawyer specialising in Compliance topics within German-speaking regions. During her career in private practice in London she focused on dispute resolution and company investigations in, as memories of snow storm, broken air con and varying passport offices tell her, drastically different locations, and gathered experience presenting evidence to the authorities in Washington. After moving in-house, she spent almost three years leading the development of Compliance methodologies in a global chemicals and pharmaceuticals company. She continues to work with companies on such topics on a freelance basis. Approaches to designing the company’s Compliance ‘foundation’ differ widely, yet the hurdles encountered in the implementation show similar patterns. Looking at such obstacles soon becomes the focus of a project. The know-how on FCPA, UK Bribery Act, etc might be there, but it needs to be carried into the organisation; or, wants to be grasped in German, when authorities in the UK or the US may seem far away. A realistic approach remains important to her, – as her t-shirt says: “[I am] easily influenced”, and – probably – so are most of us.

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