What is it?
The Ombudsman's Office is a direct channel to Apex-Brasil where you can share your opinion about the company's activities and the conduct of its employees.
Using the channels of the Ombudsman's Office, you can submit suggestions, compliments, complaints, requests or misconduct reports related to the processes, employees and activities of Apex-Brasil.
The Ombudsman's Office and the Ethics and Oversight Committees operate under the same system.
Scams and FraudsThe Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) informs that situations have been reported in which people in bad faith misuse the name of the Agency and its employees, in addition to the Agency's logo, via e-mail messages, for actions seeking to apply fraud and scams.
Therefore, we inform you that:
• Apex-Brasil's mission is to promote exports, the internationalization of Brazilian companies and foreign direct investments in support of national public policies and strategies in order to contribute to the sustainable growth of the Brazilian economy.
• Apex-Brasil is a non-profit body, which does not sell any type of physical goods, such as agricultural products, health equipment or any other product.
• What Apex-Brasil offers, most of the time free-of-charge, are services related to commercial intelligence, export promotion, internationalization of companies and attraction of foreign direct investments.
• Apex-Brasil does not buy products and services that are not related to its activities.
• The acquisitions by Apex-Brasil take place through bids, in accordance with the Agency's Bidding and Contracts Regulation, available here (in Portuguese version).
• Apex-Brasil does not request access credentials such as e-mail and password through electronic messages, social media or message applications from any of its partners or employees.
• Apex-Brasil has taken all technical, administrative and legal steps in Brazil and abroad to minimize the chances of fraud. However, it is not possible to totally prevent this type of fraud from happening again, which is why we warn all our clients and partners about the need for extra precautions to avoid becoming a victim of those actions.
If you receive any message (E-mail, text, Whatsapp message, phone, letter, etc.) that apparently is a fraud – mentioning Apex-Brasil's intention to buy or sell products or to carry out any other procedure that differs from its mission, we ask you to please confirm its authenticity by sending a confirmation e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download this warning here.
What does it do?
The Ombudsman's Office handles complaints, requests, misconduct reports, suggestions and compliments submitted by both the agency's internal and external audiences.
It supervises the measures taken by the departments involved, keeping the person who submitted the original communication up to date.
It organizes the workflow of requests and manages the relationships between the various internal and external parties involved.
It processes the information obtained from the communication with the goal of assisting in the evaluation of the services provided by Apex-Brasil.
It also proposes measures to improve the organization and operation of Apex-Brasil.
In the links to the side you speak directly with the Apex-Brasil Ombudsman's Office, through our e-Ouv system.
If you prefer, you can access the e-Ouv website directly at the following address: https://sistema.ouvidorias.gov.br
You may also contact the Ombudsman's Office directly at:
Mailing Address: SAUN Quadra 05, Bloco C, Torre II, salas 1201 a 1701 - Centro Empresarial CNC, Brasília/DF. CEP: 70.040-250.
Regarding the Ombudsman's Office1. What is an Ombudsman's Office?The Ombudsman's Office receives your suggestions, compliments, complaints, requests and misconduct reports. The Ombudsman's Office is a "bridge" between you and Apex-Brasil. The Ombudsman's Office receives and evaluates communications, provides orientation and forwards communications to the departments responsible for handling or investigating the issues. Additionally, based on the information it receives, the Ombudsman's Office may identify areas for improvement, suggest changes and point out irregular situations at the Agency. The Ombudsman's Office works systemically with the Ethics and Oversight Committees.2. What constitutes a communication?To communicate is the act of exposing, presenting, declaring, or publishing. A communication is a way for people to express their aspirations, anxieties, questions and opinions. This way people can help Apex-Brasil improve the management of policies and services, and combat misconduct.3. What are the types of communications?SUGGESTION: ideas or proposals for improving the policies and services provided by Apex-Brasil; COMPLIMENT: an expression of praise, commendation, or appreciation regarding a service provided or received; REQUEST: a solicitation for the management of Apex-Brasil to take action regarding an issue; COMPLAINT: demonstration of dissatisfaction regarding a service provided by any of the departments of Apex-Brasil; and MISCONDUCT REPORT: the reporting of an illicit act whose solution depends on measures being taken by an internal or external regulatory body.4. How soon can I expect an answer?The turnaround for a response from the Ombudsman's Office to a communication is 20 days, which may be extended another 10 days with justification. Should the Ombudsman's Office not respond within that time, it must inform the person who made the request of where the communication was forwarded, what workflow stage it is in and when a conclusive answer will be provided, or request additional information. Communications submitted via the e-Ouv system between 7:00 PM and 11:59 PM will be processed as having been submitted on the following business day. Therefore, the response turnaround clock only begins on the following business day. Example: a complaint made at 8:00 PM on May 16 will be processed as a communication made on May 17. Therefore, the clock for a response begins on May 17 if it a business day. If it's not a business day, the clock will only begin on the first business day after May 17. Should the response deadline fall on a weekend or public holiday, it will also be postponed to the next business day. Therefore, the Ombudsman's Office may take over 20 consecutive days to reply to a communication. It's important to note that the Ombudsman's office will not provide a response to anonymous communications, as it has no way of doing so.5. What happens to my communication after it is received?After your communication is received and registered, the Ombudsman's Office will evaluate it to determine the best way to address it. The Ombudsman's Office may respond to your communication by requesting that you provide more information ("Intermediate Reply") or by providing orientation. The Ombudsman's Office may also forward your communication to an appropriate department at Apex-Brasil, depending on the type of response required. Misconduct reports, on the other hand, will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Should the report pertain to ethical issues, it will be forwarded to the Ethics Committee. Should it involve disciplinary violations, such as property damages, it will be analyzed by the Oversight Committee. In both cases, the Ombudsman's Office will evaluate the elements presented and, should they be determined sufficient ("Judgment of Admissibility"), the report will be forward to the appropriate Committee. In all cases, should the communication not be anonymous, the person who submitted it will be informed of this action. The activities of the Ombudsman's Office, especially those pertaining to misconduct reports, are limited to receiving the communication, assessing whether its content is admissible, verifying whether it contains the minimum information needed to assess the facts and, in such case, forwarding it to the Ethics and Oversight Committees, according to the nature of the facts described.6. May I change my communication once it has been submitted?It will not be possible to change your communication once it has been submitted. However, should the Ombudsman's Office give you an intermediate reply, you may add information to your communication. To do this, you must access the system and click on "Provide additional information." Additional information sent via e-mail will not be accepted.7. Where can I see the response?The response will be sent via e-mail both when a new communication is made and when the Ombudsman's Office replies to a communication. Therefore, we suggest you always keep your e-mail address up-to-date. Please note that the Ombudsman's Office will not reply to anonymous communications. You may also use the system to keep track of the status of your communications and the replies given to them. To do so, please access the "View communication" option.8. How can I keep track of the status of my communication?To keep track of the status of your communication, please access the system and click on "View communication." If you are a registered user, please enter your e-mail address and password. The system will then list the communications you have submitted. Click on “details” to see the status of your communication. If you are not a registered user, please enter the ticket number and the e-mail address used to submit the communication. Click on “details” to see the status of your communication.
Regarding the Ethics Committee9. What is the role of the Ethics Committee?The responsibilities of the Ethics Committee are as follows: • To receive and evaluate the contributions pertaining to the Code of Ethics made by interested parties; • To receive and assess misconduct reports regarding violations of the Code of Ethics; • To submit its recommendations to the Board of Directors; • To coordinate the revision of the Code of Ethics; • To coordinate actions aimed at promoting and disseminating ethical values and codes of conduct; • To act proactively to identify and evaluate breaches to the Code of Ethics, whenever it deems necessary; • To consult the units of Apex-Brazil, whenever it deems necessary; and • Answer questions regarding the interpretation of the Code of Ethics.10. I'm not sure whether what I saw or heard is unethical. What should I do?Apex-Brasil promotes ethical behavior. Unethical behavior, at any level, affects the agency and all of its employees. If you are aware of any unethical behavior, you must report it. If you are unsure, please tell the Ombudsman's Office everything you know about the incident (according to FAQ 3) so it can forward the report to the Ethics Committee, which is responsible for clarifying any questions regarding the application of the Code of Ethics. The Ombudsman's Office, with the help of the Ethics Committee, is responsible for determining whether the incident breaches the Code of Ethics. You may send e-mails to email@example.com to ask any questions regarding the Code of Ethics.
Regarding the Oversight Committee11. What is the role of the Oversight Committee?• The Oversight Committee is responsible for: • Carrying out the preliminary evaluation of the misconduct reports submitted by the Ombudsman's Office, in order to determine whether an investigation of Apex-Brasil employees is necessary; • Carrying out investigations and proposing the appropriate penalty for violations or suggesting that the cases be archived, as per Normative Instruction 016-00 - Disciplinary Process and its amendments; • Calling upon employees and others to provide information; • Requesting the information and documents required to conduct investigations; • Conducting due diligence, consultations and requesting expert opinions, whenever necessary; • Submitting the conclusive reports to the Ombudsman's Office at the end of investigations; and • Proposing measures aimed at inhibiting, restraining and reducing administrative and disciplinary transgressions by Apex-Brasil employees.12. What's the difference between the Ethics Committee and the Oversight Committee?The main difference between the committees is their sphere of activity: whereas the Ethics Committee handles issues pertaining to ethics, all of which are defined in the Code of Ethics, the Oversight Committee handles disciplinary issues, as per the definitions set forth in Normative Instruction 16-00 and its amendments.
Regarding communication channels13. What channels are available for me to submit a communication?You can speak directly with the Apex-Brasil Ombudsman's Office, through our e-Ouv system at the following address:https://sistema.ouvidorias.gov.br
You may also contact the Ombudsman's Office directly at:
Mailing Address: SAUN Quadra 05, Bloco C, Torre II, salas 1201 a 1701 - Centro Empresarial CNC, Brasília/DF. CEP: 70.040-25014. What is the purpose of the e-Ouv system?The e-Ouv system is an integrated communication channel for submitting communications to the three branches of government and all autonomous government organizations, state-owned companies and other associated government bodies and companies. It is available online 24/7 and can be accessed via the e-Ouv link.15. Who may submit communications?Any individual or company.16. Must I be a registered user to use the system?You do not have to be a registered user to use the system. That is to say, you may submit a communication and check its status without having to register in the system. However, if you choose to register and log into the system, the history of all your communications will be available for you to review.17. If I decide to register, how do I do it?On the home page, click on "Register" and then enter the requested information. The system will send you a confirmation e-mail containing an activation link. You must click on this link to complete your registration.18. I requested a new password, but the password recovery link does not work.When you click on "Recover Password," the system will send you an e-mail with a link that will forward you to a page where you can create a new password. For security reasons, this link will remain valid for only 24 hours. Therefore, if you try to access the link after the 24-hour deadline, the system will give you an error message. Should this occur, submit a new request for password recovery and remember to access the link on the e-mail before the 24-hour deadline expires.19. Can I attach files to the communication?Yes, you can attach text documents, images, spreadsheets and PDF files. However, you may only upload up to 20 MB.20. While writing a long text for my communication, the system went down. What should I do?Sessions automatically expire 30 minutes after being opened. Therefore, the system appears to "go down." If you have a lot of information to provide and think it will take more than 30 minutes to type it, we suggest you first type it on a word processor and then upload the file to the system as an attachment to your communication.
Regarding misconduct reports21. What kinds of misconduct reports may I file?Apex-Brasil and its employees are committed to complying with item 3.2 of its Code of Ethics and with its Disciplinary Code. Any behavior that does not comply with these documents may be reported to the Ombudsman's Office via the available communication channels so it can be forwarded to and handled by the Ethics and Oversight Committees of Apex-Brasil.22. What must a misconduct report contain?The misconduct report must contain: • A description of the behavior that violated the Apex-Brasil Code of Ethics; • The name of the who committed the violation, if possible; and • Corroborating information or an indication of where such information can be found. Identifying oneself when filing a misconduct report is not required.23. What guarantees do I have that I will remain anonymous?Under Law No. 12.527/11 (Law of Access to Information), government bodies and entities must protect your personal information, restricting access to any information pertaining to privacy, reputation and image, unless you expressly authorize this information to be disclosed. Furthermore, your personal information may not be accessed by third parties, including unauthorized public servants, unless you provide express written consent or a judge orders the information to be disclosed during a legal proceeding.24. If I do not want to identify myself, may I submit an anonymous communication?Yes, you may submit an anonymous communication. However, anonymous communications will not contain a case number nor will the Ombudsman's Office be able to reply to them. You may also identify yourself and request that access to your information be restricted.25. May anyone file a misconduct report?Yes, however, the misconduct report must contain the information listed in answer number 3.26. Which criteria will be evaluated by the Ombudsman's Office when deciding whether a misconduct report is admissible?The following criteria will be taken into consideration: (i) substance, which includes the description of the violation of the Code of Ethics and corroborating information or an indication of where such information can be found, as well as (ii) responsibility, the name of the person who violated the Ethics or Disciplinary Code. Both criteria must contain the minimum amount of information required for an investigation to take place.27. Who will have access to my misconduct report?Initially, only the Ombudsman and the Presidents of the Ethics and Oversight Committees will have access to the misconduct report. Subsequently, should the misconduct report be deemed admissible, it will be disclosed to the members of the designated Investigation Committee and the Board of Directors of Apex-Brasil (DIREX). The identity of the person who filed the report will not be disclosed, should he or she request it so. All individuals involved in the investigation will commit to maintaining the confidentiality of the information they receive.28. May I file misconduct reports concerning past events?Yes, it is the responsibility of the Ethics Committee to investigate incidents that have occurred since its creation (Resolution of the Executive Board 04-03/2014 dated April 22, 2014). However, the Oversight Committee will investigate misconduct reports pertaining to disciplinary violations as per the statute of limitations established by law.29. If I don’t identify myself when filing the misconduct report, how can I add more information to it afterward?In this case, you will have to file a new misconduct report via the e-Ouv system, reference the incident addressed by the previous misconduct report and enter its case number.30. How can the Committee ask additional questions?The Committee will not be able to ask additional questions to the person who filed an anonymous misconduct report.31. Who investigates the misconduct reports? How is the investigation carried out? Who determines the sanctions, should they be applicable?Misconduct reports will be investigated according to the nature of the misconduct. The Ethics Committee will investigate ethics violations, whereas the Oversight Committee will investigate disciplinary violations. The Ombudsman will evaluate the admissibility of the misconduct reports or forward them to members of the Board of Directors. Once the reports have been accepted as admissible, the Ombudsman's Office will forward them to the president of the Ethics or of the Oversight Committees. Depending on the case, the president of the relevant committee will then appoint an Investigation Committee to evaluate the merit of the misconduct report. Once the misconduct report has been investigated, the committee will issue a report with its conclusion of the culpability of the accused. The Investigation Committee may suggest a penalty based on its regulations, in addition to making recommendations to the Board of Directors for actions to avoid or address ethics violations. The Board of Directors will deliberate on the recommendations and determine the applicable sanctions based on the report of the committee, although it is not bound by the aforementioned report.32. How long does it take for a misconduct report to be evaluated?The Ombudsman's Office has 20 days, which may be extended another 10 days, to inform the person who submitted the report about how the issue reported will be handled. After that, the investigation will begin and all information will be kept confidential in order to respect the rights of the individual accused of misconduct. The Committees have up to 60 days to submit a report to the Board of Directors.33. How will the misconduct report be handled should it involve a member of the Ethics or Oversight Committees?Should any member of a Committee be accused of misconduct, he or she will not be allowed to participate in any proceeding pertaining to the investigation until it is complete, unless requested by the Investigation Committee to testify in his or her own defense.34. How will the misconduct report be handled should it involve the president or a director?Misconduct reports pertaining to members of the Deliberative Council (CDA), Fiscal Council (CFA) and the Board of Directors of Apex-Brasil (DIREX) will not be evaluated by the Ombudsman's Office, since that office is hierarchically subordinate to the aforementioned bodies. In such cases, the Ombudsman's Office will forward the misconduct report, for review and handling, to members of the Board of Directors of Apex-Brasil (DIREX) that were not mentioned in the misconduct report. Should the misconduct report involve all members of the Board of Directors of Apex-Brasil (DIREX), it will be forwarded for review and handling by the Deliberative Council (CDA).35. Who will decide which penalties to impose?The Board of Directors will decide which penalties to impose.36. Can people be summoned to testify?Yes, provided they are not barred from testifying or considered under suspicion. However, even if the person is barred from testifying or under suspicion, the members of the Investigation Committees may interview the person as an informant.37. When will a person be barred from testifying or considered under suspicion?A witness may be barred from testifying when he or she has a direct interest in the case or is a relative, up to the third degree, of the accused. The person will be considered under suspicion when he or she has a close friendship with or known animosity for the accused. In both cases, the Investigation Committee will determine whether to accept or deny the claim that the person should be barred from testifying or is under suspicion, in which case they may interview the witness as an informant.38. What characterizes a close friendship with or known animosity for the purposes of suspicion?A close friendship presupposes a relationship that goes beyond the workplace environment, encompassing family interactions, joint leisure activities, an affective attachment or concern with personal matters. On the other hand, a known animosity requires a conflict that goes beyond a reaction of low empathy or even of antipathy and is widely known to those at the organization.39. What are the possible penalties?The possible penalties are set forth in Normative Instruction 016-00 and its amendments, which deal with disciplinary proceedings.40. If I'm accused of misconduct, how can I defend myself?Should the misconduct report be admissible, the individual accused of misconduct will be guaranteed ample opportunity to defend him or herself, being summoned by the Investigation Committee to state his or her defense in writing, whereby he or she may name witnesses and/or indicate the evidence he or she wishes to present.41. How do I file a misconduct report? What are the requirements for filing such report?Misconduct reports should be submitted via the e-Ouv system. After selecting the type of communication (misconduct report), you must select the government body (The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency). Additionally, the misconduct report must comply with the following requirements: a) It must pertain to an incident involving Apex-Brasil; b) It must state the name of the accused; c) It must include a minimal description of the issue in the "Incident" field (field on the e-Ouv system in which you will provide information pertaining to the issue), thereby allowing the Ombudsman's Office to proceed with its responsibilities. If possible, also submit a document or image corroborating the allegation. The evidence can be submitted electronically by clicking on the "attach file" option on the form. It can also be sent as correspondence or delivered in person.42. May I include multiple violations in a single misconduct report?In order to facilitate the investigation, we recommend that each violation be communicated in its own report.43. Will I, as an Apex-Brasil employee, be penalized for filing a misconduct report?No. Under no circumstance will an Apex-Brasil employee be penalized for reporting a crime or misconduct to the relevant authorities.44. Can I withdraw a misconduct report I filed? What should I do?Yes. You may submit a new communication, mentioning the case number, such as, 00106.000XXX/2015-XX, for example, and request the misconduct report be withdrawn. However, the administration may use the information previously submitted if it deems it relevant. In any case, the identity of the person who filed the report will be kept confidential.