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Post-Brexit, strong anti-bribery legislation more important than ever

Post-Brexit, strong anti-bribery legislation more important than ever
Transparency International to give evidence to Lords Bribery Act Committee

17th July 2018, London – In a post-Brexit environment the UK’s Anti-Bribery Act must under no circumstance be watered down and is more important than ever, Transparency International will warn Parliamentarians today.

In May a House of Lords Select Committee was appointed to review the Bribery Act (2010). Transparency International has submitted written evidence and Kathryn Higgs, Director of Transparency International UK’s Business Integrity Programme, will today appear before the Committee to outline the importance of the UK’s Bribery Act in reinforcing the free market, providing a level playing field for clean companies and advancing the global fight against corruption. Since its introduction the UK has risen from 20th to 8th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, in part down to the positive global perceptions caused by the Act.

Higgs, a lawyer who has implemented anti-bribery programmes at two FTSE-100 companies after run ins with the SFO, will caution against any attempts to weaken this legislation and urge Lords to resist any attempt to ‘free up business’ in a post-Brexit trade environment, citing the success of the act in providing a sound legal basis for prosecuting bribery.

The establishment of this Committee does however offer an opportunity to strengthen the Bribery Act further, in particular to ensure it is being properly enforced. If firms who are found to be in breach of the law are not properly punished, there is risk it will simply be ignored. Meanwhile the Government should either scrap or substantially narrow down the controversial Section 13 of the act that provides an exemption for UK intelligence services and armed forces.

Kathryn Higgs, Director Business Integrity Programme at Transparency International UK, said:

“The UK Bribery Act was a major milestone in the UK’s fight against corruption and has since prompted a whole host of anti-bribery legislation around the world. We have seen more and more businesses understanding the damage that bribery does to their own companies, the markets in which they operate and the lives of ordinary people. It would be perverse for the UK to stop operating to a global standard just at the time that it is trying to convince the world that it can be a global trading partner in a post-Brexit environment.”

“Any attempt to use Brexit as an excuse to launch an assault on the Bribery Act must be rejected outright. There can be no excuse to tolerate criminal behaviour by corporates looking to pursue an unfair advantage by either paying or receiving bribes. The majority of UK companies wish to conduct their business ethically and do not perceive the Bribery Act as hindering their operations.”

“This review is an opportunity to strengthen the Act further, and we hope the Committee will recommend the Government to prioritise enforcement and do more to punish both the individuals and companies found to be committing bribery around the world.”

***ENDS***

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
+44 20 3096 7695
+44 79 6456 0340
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

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Read 76 times Last modified on Tuesday, 17 July 2018 08:17

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