John Veale of Kangs Solicitors reviews the Bribery Act 2010 (‘the Act’) which came into force on 1st July 2011 and deals with offences committed wholly on or after that date.
The Act, which applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, also makes provision for offences committed outside of the jurisdiction to be dealt with by the UK Courts.
The Act, removes the offence of bribery at common law and various statutory offences and creates four offences covering:
- giving a bribe,
- receiving a bribe,
- bribing a foreign official, and
- obtaining or retaining business or business advantage for a commercial organisation as the result of a bribe offered by an associated person.
Offences of Bribing Another Person
Section 1 of the Act provides that individual is guilty of an offence:
- If they offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage (a bribe) to another person with the intention that the other person will be induced to perform improperly a relevant function or activity.
- If they offer a bribe as a reward to that other person for the improper performance of a relevant function or activity.
- If the person giving the bribe knows or believes that the acceptance of it by the other person is in itself an improper performance of a relevant function or activity.
Offences Relating to Being Bribed
Section 2 of the Act defines the various ways in which an individual can be guilty of receiving a bribe:
- If an individual requests, agrees to receive or accepts a financial or other advantage (a bribe) intending that in consequence a relevant function or activity should be performed improperly, whether by the person receiving the bribe or otherwise they commit an offence.
- If the receipt of the bribe is in itself an improper performance of a relevant function or activity, this is an offence.
- It is also an offence for an individual to agree to receive or accept a bribe as a reward for improper performance of a relevant function or activity.
- Finally, where, in anticipation of, or in consequence of, an individual requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe, a relevant function or activity is performed improperly, this also constitutes an offence.
The Act defines a function or activity in very wide terms, sets out what an improper performance is by reference to a breach of a relevant expectation and sets out a test of what constitutes a relevant expectation.
Bribery of Foreign Public Officials
Section 6 of the Act provides that a person who bribes a foreign public official is guilty of an offence:
- If it is their intention to influence the person receiving the bribe in their capacity as a foreign public official.
- The person giving the bribe must also intend to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of a business.
The Act gives a very wide definition to the meaning of foreign public official and what their capacity may be.
Failure of a Commercial Organization to Prevent Bribery
Section 7 of the Act provides that a commercial organization can be guilty of an offence where an individual associated with that commercial organization bribes another intending to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business for that commercial organization.
It is, however, a defence for the commercial organization if it can prove that it has in place adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with it bribing others.
The Secretary of State provides guidance about such preventative procedures.
Consent to Prosecute | Kangs Specialist Fraud Solicitors
Prosecution under the Act can only be carried out with the consent of the:
- Director of Public Prosecutions,
- Director of the Serious Fraud Office ,or
- Director of Revenue and Customs Prosecutions.
Penalties | Bribery and Corruption Solicitors
An individual found guilty at a Magistrates’ Court of an offence under sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act, may receive a maximum custodial sentence of 12 months and or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.
On conviction at the Crown Court, the maximum custodial sentence is 10 years, a fine or both.
A commercial organisation convicted at the Crown Court of an offence under section 7 of the Act can receive an unlimited fine.
Our Experience | Bribery Cases | Kangs Solicitors
Our team can assist you at every stage from the interview under caution and investigation right through to a Crown Court trial.
Who Can I Contact For Advice? | Kangs Solicitors
Please feel free to contact our team of lawyers with a proven track record in defending fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption allegations through one of the following: