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Disappointment at delayed implementation of Bribery Act

Commenting on today’s announcement by Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, Secretary of State for Justice, that implementation of the Bribery Act will be delayed until April 2011, and that there will be a “short consultation exercise” on the content of official guidance, Chandrashekhar Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK said:

20 July 2010 – “While guidance will be helpful for companies by clarifying some grey areas it is extremely disappointing that the Government has chosen to delay implementation of the Bribery Act. Meanwhile, the victims of corporate bribery, usually the poorest people in the poorest countries, will continue to suffer. There is absolutely no reason that effective guidance could not have been published in time for the Act to commence in 2010. The danger is that under the guise of consultation attempts may be made by those who want to pursue ‘resources-resources-business as usual’ to water down the Bribery Act. Having made positive noises about the need to ensure British aid and development spending is not wasted through corruption, the coalition Government is in danger of undermining its own policy. The jury is now out on its commitment to fighting corruption.”

In the absence of the long-promised official guidance from the Government, on Thursday 22 July Transparency International UK will publish its own guidance on the Bribery Act to allow companies to get a ‘head start’ in tightening up their anti-corruption procedures.

Notes to editor
1.The Bribery Act sets out four offences: offering a bribe; accepting a bribe; bribing a foreign public official; and failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery.
2. UK companies and their directors would be liable if they failed to prevent bribery. A company is guilty of this offence if an employee or other person associated with it bribes another person intending to obtain or retain resources-resources-business or a resources-resources-business advantage for the company. However it is a defence for a company to prove that it had in place ‘adequate procedures’ designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking such conduct.
3. It is significant that the Bribery Act is tougher than the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in some respects – for instance, it criminalises facilitation payments and also outlaws private-to-private bribery.
4. Companies can face unlimited fines, while directors can be imprisoned for up to ten years for failing to have ‘adequate procedures’ to prevent bribery.
5. Hospitality, publicity, insider information, and donations to charity could all be considered as bribes in certain circumstance.
6. An individual can be liable for accepting an advantage even if he/she did not know that the other party intended to induce improper conduct.
7. Companies can be liable for bribes paid by subsidiaries, agents or partners in joint ventures.
8. Transparency International UK’s Adequate Procedures Guidance can be downloaded here



Read 2209 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:07

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