A new position was created when AngloGold Ashanti saw the need for a compliance manager in July 2003, and there was someone ready to step into the role.
"The offer came at the right time," says Bobby Barua, who had previously practised as an advocate for three years, and who was ready to make the move from court to corporate.
The position, a consolidation of duties previously carried out by a number of individuals, comprises general and corporate governance from an internal group perspective. Corporate governance encompasses, for example, compliance with legislation pertaining to the company's South African, United States and Australian stock exchange listings; the US Securities Exchange Commission and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the King Report on Corporate Governance
General compliance relates to, amongst others, the South African Protected Disclosures Act aimed at the protection of whistle-blowers; the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) to eliminate money laundering and fraud at international level; the Access to Information Act which requires that business and government furnish information for the exercise or protection of any rights; and the Companies Act and, more specifically, proposed changes to the Act.
It also relates to company policy directed at employees and directors. Since his appointment last year, Barua has either amended or designed a number of policies directed at protecting the interests of the company by taking into account legislative and regulatory requirements of the various jurisdictions in which AngloGold Ashanti operates. Requests for policies come mainly from either the company secretariat, the board of directors or executive committee (Exco). A recent example was a request from Exco to design a policy that would require employees to disclose any conflicts of interest they may have between their roles as company employees and their private capacity. The policy is applicable to four categories of employees - senior management; everybody in the procurement department as well as other individuals not in the department who may from time to time procure goods or services; those individuals who are in a position to influence those who may procure goods and/or services; and any other individual identified by management.
One of his main challenges is the diversity of jurisdictional requirements in the 10 countries in which AngloGold Ashanti operates. He says that although people are generally fearful of change, it is important that they realise it is for the good of the company, which is committed to upholding company values. Since his position is still fairly new, it is difficult to gauge his success; suffice to say that people have been supportive of his role and his responsibilities.
Barua sits on the disclosures committee and the corporate office employment equity committee. He also liaises with each regional legal counsel individually to discuss legal and compliance issues. Under the auspices of the company's general counsel, Ms Merene Botsio-Philips, a global legal team has been established to help co-ordinate the legal discipline across regions. A charter for the global legal team has been drafted by Barua - a statement of principle of what the company's legal objectives are and how best to serve them.