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UK’s Bribery Act 2010 (UKBA)

Where do you stand on mitigating the risks?

The UK Bribery Act (the ‘Act’) came into force on 01 July 2011, introducing the new corporate offence for failing to prevent bribery on behalf of a commercial organisation. Importantly, it is not limited to the United Kingdom (UK) registered companies, but also applies to Indian companies, which carries on a business, or part of a business, in any part of the UK, irrespective of the place of incorporation or formation. The reach of the Act likewise, extends beyond UK national borders by covering relevant acts and omissions, carried out anywhere in the world.

Failure to prevent bribery could be the biggest challenge for companies working towards a fully compliant business. For implementation of the Act, some companies may still be getting their policies and procedures aligned with the requirements of the Act.  The important question is: What should companies be focusing on at this stage?

The most pressing issue for companies that may find themselves subject to the UK Bribery Act, is to ensure that the anti-bribery policies and procedures they have in place are sufficiently robust, and effective enough to satisfy the ‘adequate procedures’ provisions of the Act, so as to protect them from liability in the event that one of their employees or associated persons  engages in bribery.  Acting promptly to address any gaps or areas of weakness identified in the anti-bribery program, could be the only defence available, when bribery is uncovered.

The Guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice, as to what constitutes ‘adequate procedures’  is high level, principles-based and non-prescriptive in character and sets out key principles that should be considered when determining the appropriate procedures and controls.

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