The UK will reinforce its reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, when the Bribery Act comes into force in April 2011.
The Act will ensure the UK is at the forefront of the battle against bribery and pave the way for fairer practice by encouraging businesses to adopt anti-bribery safeguards.
The Act will:
· Introduce a 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.
· Make 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.
· Increase the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.
In September the Government will launch a short consultation exercise on the guidance about procedures which commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery on their behalf.
This will be published early in the New Year to allow businesses an adequate familiarisation period before the Act commences.
The consultation will be followed by a series of awareness-raising events to ensure everyone is aware of the changes the Bribery Act makes to the current law.
· For more information please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 0203 334 3536.