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Bribery Act

The Bribery Act came into force on 1 July 2011.  Its aim is to promote anti-bribery practices amongst businesses. If your organisation fails to prevent bribery in relation to winning or keeping business, you will have committed a criminal offence.

Organisations should take steps to address the risks of bribery and demonstrate that they have put clear, practical bribery prevention policies and procedures in place.

There are two offences under the Act: “active bribery”, which is the offering, promising or giving of a bribe and “passive bribery”, which is requesting, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe.

The Act:

  • Introduces a corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by anyone working on behalf of a business. You can only avoid conviction if they can show that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
  • Makes it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad.
  • Increases the maximum penalty for bribery from 7 to 10 years’ imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.

However, the Act does not cover genuine promotional and other business expenditure such as tickets for sporting events, promotional gifts or taking clients to dinner.

Contact us if you have any questions about your obligations under the Bribery Act.

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