Prosecutors vow to vigorously enforce Bribery Act

Yesterday the UK Ministry of Justice of Justice issued guidance on the Bribery Act which will finally come into force on July 1st this year.  Kenneth Clarke the Justice Secretary said that the Act will ensure the UK is at the forefront of the battle against bribery, allowing the country to clamp down on corruption without being burdensome to business.

Guidance on the safeguards businesses can put in place to prevent bribery has now been published, following in-depth consultation with non-governmental organisations and business.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer QC, and the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Richard Alderman also issued on the Bribery Act 2010.

The Bribery Act, which is due to come into force in July, creates four distinct criminal offences of: –

  • 1. Bribing another
  • 2. Being bribed
  • 3. Bribing a foreign official
  • 4. Commercial organisations – failing to prevent bribery.

The Serious Fraud Office Director, Richard Alderman, said: “The Bribery Act is good news for the UK and UK business.  It confirms our commitment to helping to eradicate bribery from business practices.  It will help ensure that ethical businesses do not lose out to others that use bribery and corruption to win contracts.  We shall enforce the act vigorously, but we are still very keen to listen to specific issues that companies have.   I want to work with ethical businesses to resolve problems pragmatically and fairly”.

The SFO has also said that the guidance makes it clear that there is an inherent public interest in prosecuting bribery.

The guidance and Quick Start Guide can be found at: Guidance – Bribery

Should you require any assistance with regard to the guidance, how it affects your business, and what needs to be done in both the short and long term, please feel free to contact any of the team at BGP.