In an interview with the Financial Times, the consultancy said one in three global logistics groups had not yet published an anti-corruption policy, with half not having a statement on facilitation payments – the unofficial payments made to foreign officials to speed up or carry out tasks that they are obliged to perform, a practice common in some countries.
Coming into force last year (2011), the Bribery Act states that companies with a presence in the UK can face prosecution for bribery, regardless of where the alleged activity has taken place, unless that activity is permitted locally. It also created the offence of bribing a foreign public official, even if that person has demanded a bribe.
Explaining the Act, Good Corporation says companies can also be responsible for bribery carried out by employees without the company’s knowledge or consent. It created a new offence of failing to prevent bribery by people working for or on behalf of a business, unless the company can show that it has \”adequate procedures\” designed to prevent bribery in place.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the independent UK Government department has encouraged companies to adopt \”zero tolerance\” on facilitation payments. All such payments, no matter their size, are illegal under UK law, although prosecution is unlikely if such payments are small, providing they are identified and remedied by a company\’s internal processes.
Source: Pinsent Masons)