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UK Government is back pedalling on Bribery Act , says anti-corruption watchdog

Commenting on the Ministry of Justice’s decision to delay the publication of the Government’s guidance to companies on adequate procedures for preventing bribery

Chandrashekhar Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said:

‘This is disastrous news. Last July, the Government committed to publishing its Guidance to companies early in the new year so the Bribery Act would come into force in April 2011. The Government has failed to fulfil that commitment. Even worse, it is not prepared to confirm a revised time frame.

‘This raises serious doubts about the credibility of the Government’s commitment to the Bribery Act, which was passed in the last Parliament on the basis of an all-party consensus. The Act is a robust piece of legislation that will help to level the playing field for the vast majority of UK companies that want to conduct their business in an ethical manner. This delay creates unnecessary uncertainty for these companies and exposes the Government to international criticism that it is not serious about combating corruption’.

Note to editors

1.The Bribery Act sets out four offences: offering a bribe; accepting a bribe; bribing a foreign public official; and failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery.

2. UK companies and their directors would be liable if they failed to prevent bribery. A company is guilty of this offence if an employee or other person associated with it bribes another person intending to obtain or retain business or a business advantage for the company. However, it is a defence for a company to prove that it had in place ‘adequate procedures’ designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking such conduct.

About Transparency International UK

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.

Transparency International UK is the UK Chapter of the world's leading non-governmental anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International.

  • We raise awareness about corruption
  • We advocate legal and regulatory reform at national and international levels
  • We design practical tools for institutions, individuals and companies wishing to combat corruption
  • We act as a leading centre of anti-corruption expertise in the UK.

With more than 90 Chapters worldwide, and an international secretariat in Berlin, Transparency International has unparalleled global understanding and expertise.

For any press enquiries please contact

Chandu Krishnan, Executive Director
T: +44 (0)20 7922 7962
M: +44 (0)7816 311070
E: [email protected]

Janice Allen, Communications Manager
M: +44 (0)7902 841 386
E:[email protected]