Griffiths Energy International: The Board's Dilemma (A)
In 2012, Griffiths Energy International Inc. had secured the land leases needed to begin drilling for oil in Chad and was preparing for an IPO. During the due diligence, the company's lawyers found consulting contracts that appeared to be payments to a public official to gain a business advantage. While bribing officials was not uncommon in Chad, it was a criminal offence in Canada. The company's senior executive team was new, and the founder and former chairman, who might have been able to explain the contracts, had died in a boating accident. The directors needed to decide what to do: continue with the IPO and deal with disclosure if the matter did surface at some point later or report the findings to the authorities now and bear the consequences.