The government’s decision to delay the introduction of the Bribery Act until April 2011 has been labelled “extremely disappointing” by anti-corruption campaigners.
The Bribery Act introduces a corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. It also makes 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 legislation was originally meant to come into force in October, but has now been postponed by six months.
The government now intends to consult with employers in September on procedures that commercial organisations can put in place to ensure they stay the right side of the law.
Chandrashekhar Krishnan, executive director of campaigners Transparency International UK, said: “While guidance will be helpful for companies by clarifying some grey areas, it is extremely disappointing that the government has chosen to delay implementation of the Bribery Act.
“The danger is that under the guise of consultation attempts may be made by those who want to pursue ‘business as usual’ to water down the Bribery Act.”
Guidance will be published early in the New Year “to allow businesses an adequate familiarisation period” before the Act commences, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement on its website.
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