UK Bribery Act; Many companies not ready and could face prison

The UK Bribery Act which came into force on the 1st of July 2011 is reportedly one of the toughest such pieces of legislation anywhere in the world. Well before it was on the statutes it had a positive effect, writes Editor Bobby Logue.

However, many companies are not ready for the implementation and risk prison or an unlimited fine warned Brent McDaniel, the UK head of Anti-bribery & Corruption at KPMG. “Despite the crescendoing noise and continued speculation around the Bribery Act, a third of all UK companies remain unprepared for today’s implementation, risking a jail sentence or unlimited fine. In fact 71 percent believe there are some places in the World where business cannot be done without engaging in bribery and corruption. While many corporates are already tackling the Act head on, the fear is whether training and policy are extending to global partnerships and overseas third parties.” Warned McDaniel

“For those enjoying corporate hospitality this week, proportionality sits at the heart of this legislation. The SFO are likely to have little interest in prosecuting over a bottle of wine or a day at the races. The mandate is to stamp out grand scale corruption in high risk countries, but evidence of companies undertaking thorough risk assessments and training is vital to evade prosecution. In a crowded regulatory world the Bribery Act is but one element and should not be tackled in isolation, but must be the catalyst for company boards to overhaul the entire compliance agenda.”

KPMG Website