This blog post will outline the new Bribery Act 2010 which is due to come into effect from 1 April 2011.
The act applies to all UK entities and foreign entities doing business in UK. This is irrespective of whether bribery takes place in UK or overseas. This also takes into account any activities the company itself or any person associated with it.
The principal offences outlined in the act are;
o The active offence of bribing another person
o The passive offence of being bribed
o Bribing a foreign public official
A bribe is a financial or other advantage, commonly gifts, hospitality, employment etc. where the bribe is improper or given to induce or reward improper performance.
If found guilty penalties range from fines, disqualification as a director and in some extreme cases up to 10 years imprisonment.
As accountants, we must be aware of situations where suspicious activity may have taken place, for example, excessive hospitality. For instance it may be common practice for a company to take clients to the rugby however if the company was to send one of these clients on an all expenses trip to Paris, this may be something to investigate. This often takes place at a high level in an organisation so be aware of tip offs.
It is good practice to have suitable policies and procedures in place regarding bribery, corruption and money laundering including training and compliance systems and a whistle blowing process. As such, we train our staff to be fully aware of any possible infringements and therefore are fully compliant with our accounting body, CIMA.