30 March 2011
Last week the Asian Development Bank and the OECD jointly published “The Criminalisation of Bribery in Asia and the Pacific” at a meeting of parties to a regional anti corruption Initiative.
Criminalisation is a key component of all international anti-corruption instruments. The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the UN Convention against Corruption both require members to enact specific criminal offences on bribery. The ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption I nitiative commits countries to implementing sanctions to actively combat the bribery of public officials. .The APEC Anticorruption and Transparency Task Force is supporting these efforts. Criminalisation can be a challenging task, as experienced by many countries party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. This ADB/OECD report reviews measures taken to give effect to UNCAC by countries taking part in the Initiative.
Although data from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands form part of the report, actions in New Zealand are not included as New Zealand is not an Initiative participant and has not ratified the UNCAC. New Zealand like others in the region, has obligations as part of its APEC membership to promote anti corruption through the APEC Conduct Principles for Public Officials and the APEC code of conduct for business. However, it is unlikely that more than a handful of New Zealand officials are aware of the Principles for Public Officials, and the code for business is almost unheard of!
The British Government this week issued guidance which sets out the measures businesses can put in place to prevent bribery, in preparation for the Bribery Act coming into force on 1 July 2011.
Under the Act, a corporate offence will be introduced for failing to prevent bribery by people working on behalf of the organisation, alongside offences for offering or accepting a bribe and bribing a foreign official.
However, the guidance also adds that an employer does “not need to put bribery prevention procedures in place if there is no risk of bribery on [its] behalf”.
The UK Bribery Act, and “Quick Start” guide can be downloaded here: