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Bribery Act: Seven Weeks Left To Act

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The UK Bribery Act comes into force on 1 July 2011 and in our experience companies underestimate the time required to implement an anti-corruption strategy. So for those who have yet to act, and have less than two months to do so, what do you need to know?

The key aspects of the legislation are:

It makes it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe, either at home or abroad. The measures cover bribery of a foreign public official.
It introduces a new corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. A business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
It increases the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.

The Government has a statutory obligation to provide guidance on what constitutes ‘adequate procedures’. The Ministry of Justice has therefore published its final guidance, which proposes six general principles of good practice, some of which we have highlighted below.

Things to consider:

A corruption risk assessment must be carried out.
Top-level commitment: an organisation must make a clear and unambiguous commitment to establishing a culture in which bribery is unacceptable.
Robust due diligence: you must be able to demonstrate that you know who you do business with.
Clear practical and accessible policies and procedures. Policies and procedures must be effectively implemented.
There must be monitoring and review of the effectiveness of anti-bribery controls, with consideration of the need for external audit.

Questions to ask:

Do we need help to perform a Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA)?
If we have a bribery strategy, are policies and procedures bespoke or aligned to the CRA?
Do we clearly and regularly communicate the organisation’s policies to all staff?
Do our policies and procedures fully address tricky areas such as facilitation payments, gifts, entertainment, corporate hospitality and political donations on a global basis?
Is there an anti-corruption training programme for the Board, all managers and staff?
Is there one senior individual within the organisation responsible for overseeing the implementation of the requirements of the Act, investigating reports of corruption and employing appropriate sanctions?
Do we have an effective compliance-monitoring programme that provides the requisite assurance?

This will create a massive secondary market for blackmail.

How does a nation purport to end bribery, when you have ex-Prime Minsters gaining very lucrative jobs on the boards of major world corporations?

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If done correctly it can work!

The ICAC for instance in HK works very well, even tiny infractions such as fiddling expenses cna be reported to the ICAC. They also have top tier powers from Beijing these days which means anybody and everybody can be caught in the ICAC spot lights. Some senior cops were arrested and imprisoned for fraud a while ago.

Unfortunately this is just law for the sake of law, i.e. they make a new law but don't really back it up. The ICAC purge at the end of the 70s and 80s created a specific department with specific powers. And as said it worked.

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I do a lot of work in emerging markets and this legislation worries me.

Consider this.

You're in a minor road accident in Mumbai (or Karachi or Minsk or Saigon), the hospital doctor says you need an injection and he can offer you a pre-used but sterilised needle, or for a small extra cash payment of $20 he can use a brand new needle.

If you hand over $20 for the new needle are you breaking the law?

Different "experts" are giving different answers.

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How does a nation purport to end bribery, when you have ex-Prime Minsters gaining very lucrative jobs on the boards of major world corporations?

That's not a problem, legally what you mention is not bribery (or rather there is no way to prove it even though it's all out in the open).

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I do a lot of work in emerging markets and this legislation worries me.

Consider this.

You're in a minor road accident in Mumbai (or Karachi or Minsk or Saigon), the hospital doctor says you need an injection and he can offer you a pre-used but sterilised needle, or for a small extra cash payment of $20 he can use a brand new needle.

If you hand over $20 for the new needle are you breaking the law?

Different "experts" are giving different answers.

We're not talking emerging markets.

Since when did the British legislative branch and judicial system have any relevance to your story?

Britain is where it is in the world because we don't give a flying crap about any other kunt, unless of course they happen to have something we want. Simples.

This 'bribery' legislation will become the new 'paedophilia' black mark that politicians and the powerful can plant on dissenters at will.

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And yet the Financial Services Authority continues to be funded by the companies it's supposed to regulate, MPs vote their own pay increases and expenses and bankers "incompetence" is rewarded by £billions/trillions of taxpayers money in bonuses etc - etc.

It sounds like more jobsworths smokescreen laws that'll really not solve the real underlying problems.

Edited by billybong

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We're not talking emerging markets.

Since when did the British legislative branch and judicial system have any relevance to your story?

Britain is where it is in the world because we don't give a flying crap about any other kunt, unless of course they happen to have something we want. Simples.

This 'bribery' legislation will become the new 'paedophilia' black mark that politicians and the powerful can plant on dissenters at will.

The legislation mirrors the US legislation in that it also applies to British subjects or employees of British companies operating overseas.

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Does leaving government and landing a job with a bank paying millions shortly thereafter count?

The ability to offer lucrative positions to ex regulators and ministers is an excellent way to avoid unpleasant rule enforcement by said worthies. Who, in their right mind- would piss off their future employer when the money on offer is so good and the job as good as guaranteed- if you don't rock the boat?

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Does leaving government and landing a job with a bank paying millions shortly thereafter count?

The ability to offer lucrative positions to ex regulators and ministers is an excellent way to avoid unpleasant rule enforcement by said worthies. Who, in their right mind- would piss off their future employer when the money on offer is so good and the job as good as guaranteed- if you don't rock the boat?

Yes, is it safe to assume that polical donations and "lobbying" will be a thing of the past? :ph34r:

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Will British Aerospace be exempt?

Only asking as the decision not to prosecute in the Saudi aircraft debacle was taken at the very highest level.

Despite the evidence being concise and overwhelming!!

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Isn't bribery just the market working in it's most purest form ?

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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