Described as “the toughest bribery legislation in the world” by the Serious Fraud Office, the Bribery Act 2010 comes into force on 1 July 2011.
The Act is fairly short but its far reaching scope should not be underestimated by businesses as well as individuals.
The Act creates four offences as follows:
- giving, offering or promising a bribe (active bribery)
- requesting, accepting or receiving a bribe (passive bribery)
- bribing a foreign public official
- failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery by its “associates”
The last of these offences is a new one. It is a strict liability offence and the only offence that provides for a possible defence if an organisation can show it has “adequate procedures” in place to tackle bribery.
The territorial application of the new bribery legislation is much wider than the current law. It will apply to businesses and individuals, whether or not they are based in the UK, provided there is a connection with the UK.
Businesses need to assess their approach to anti-corruption activities and adopt adequate procedures to ensure they do not fall foul of the Act.
To find out how the Act will affect you and what your organisation can do to prevent bribery please click here.