VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Social Sciences POSTED ON: 7/2/2010
Existing international best practice points to the need for clear leadership fromcompany management as well as practical implementation procedures including training, audits and helplines, so concerned employees can report problems where necessary. [...] in its report on the OECD convention last year, the anti-corruption non-governmental organisation Transparency International cited 21 countries with 'little or no enforcement' of their laws against foreign bribery.
THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JULY 2010 PAGE 26 A WORLD WITHOUT BRIBES? John Bray, LEAD ANTI-CORRUPTION SPECIALIST, CONTROL RISKS Britain’s new Bribery Act, which became law in the final weeks of the outgoing Labour government, sets a new standard in the international campaign against corruption. But international bribery remains commonplace, so how much difference will it make? And how far is it possible to envisage a world that is truly free from corruption? t HE BRIBERY ACT COVERS PAYMENTS ANYWHERE in the world, and applies to individuals and firms with a close connection to Britain, including companies incorporated there. It is tougher than the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the most widely cited international benchmark, in that it covers bribes paid to private entities as well as foreign officials. The potential penalties include prison terms for individuals and unlimited fines for companies. Earlier, Britain had been criticised by its peers in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for its antiquated anti-corruption laws and poor enforcement record. Now it can truly claim to have world- class anti-bribery legislation. significant change, even before the passage of the new law. E M P H AS I S O N P R E V E N T IO N Recent landmark cases include the conviction last Companies based in Britain have already begun to take September of engineering company Mabey & Johnson, note. One of the innovative features of the Act is that it which was sentenced to pay a total penalty of £6.6 million introduces a new corporate offence of failure to prevent ($9.7 million) on charges of paying bribes via local agents bribery. However, it also offers an escape route. If a rogue in Ghana and Jamaica, and in connection with the Iraq employee is found to have paid bribes, companies will be able oil-for-food case. to defend themselves as long as they can demonstrate that In February the defence company BAE’s joint settlement they have ‘adequate procedures’ to prevent such conduct. with Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the US The Ministry of Justice has promised to publish guidelines authorities resulted in fines of £30 million ($44 million) and on the nature of these procedures before the Act comes into $400 million. And in April a former DePuy executive was effect later this year. These guidelines are expected to be based sentenced to a year’s imprisonment – later suspended on on principles rather than specifics. Existing international best appeal – after admitting his involvement in the payment of the practice points to the need for clear leadership from company equivalent of $6.6 million worth of bribes to officials in the management as well as
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