05 September 2011 #Employment
The Crown Prosecution Service have announced this week that they intend to try the first Defendant allegedly guilty of offences under the Bribery Act on 14 October 2011.
Munir Yakub Patel, a clerk in the Redbridge Magistrates Court, has been charged with requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions under Section 2 of the Act. He allegedly accepted a payment of £500 to fix a motoring offence.
A statement released by Gaon Hart, a CPS lawyer, said he had "reviewed all of the evidence gathered by the police and considered the director of public prosecution`s guidelines on the Bribery Act. I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence to charge Munir Patel with requesting and receiving a bribe on 1 August 2011 intending to improperly perform his functions."
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July this year. Section 2(1) of the Act provides that a person is guilty of an offence if they request, agree to receive, or accept a financial or other advantage intending that a relevant function or activity should be performed improperly.
The other three main offences under the Act are:
Under the section 7 corporate offence, a company can be prosecuted if a bribe is paid by an individual or a company ‘associated` with it. For employers this could mean that its directors and senior officers could be at risk as a result of rogue elements that are ‘associated` with their companies. An associated person is one who "performs services for or on behalf of" the company in any capacity and the definition of a person includes individuals or an incorporated or unincorporated body. The Act expressly sets out that an associated person may, for example, be an employee, an agent, intermediary, joint-venture partner, supplier, contractor or a subsidiary of the company. However, in deciding whether a person performs such services all relevant circumstances must be taken into consideration, not just the nature of the relationship between the person and the company itself. To date, no prosecutions under Section 7 have been brought.
The Act provides however that a full defence may be available provided the company can show that it had adequate procedures in place that are designed to prevent bribery. What counts as ‘adequate` will ultimately depend on the nature of that company`s business, its size and its complexity. The Ministry of Justice has published six principles as a guide to help organisations consider whether any risk areas exist and whether they need to do anything differently in future. Further guidance on the procedures can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
The team at Clarkslegal has recorded a series of Podcasts providing information on the Act, including how businesses can seek to ensure that they have adequate procedures in place, which are available here. Other useful documents include Employmentbuddy`s factsheet and anti bribery policy.