posted on May, 12 2011 @ 08:54 PM
First of all, not sure exactly where this should go so mods, feel free to move it if you find a better home.
It's a new law that may make it much more difficult for corruption in the UK to go unnoticed...
The new UK Bribery Act 2010… so what does it mean?
On the 1st of July 2011, the Bribery Act will come into force. A long awaited piece of legislation that makes bribery unbelievably difficult within UK
So… what was the problem in the first place?
Whether you were aware of this or not, bribery is rife within the UK just as it is around the world. However, bribery in the UK is sneakier than it is
in other countries. Bribery comes in countless forms, like cold hard cash from one person to another, or other commercial favours and seems to vanish
from the view of the authorities.
The current laws in place that cover offences of bribery are over 100 years old, going all the way back to the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act
1889. There have been so many advancements in business, communication and technology which have made the old law so outdated. There have been so few
prosecutions in the UK and allegations of bribery have seemed to be ignored.
Today’s businesses, corporations and politicians exploit these huge loopholes to ensure that things go their way.
What’s the solution?
The Bribery Act 2010 makes it very difficult for bribery to go undetected. Bribery has a new definition… it is a crime to give any “financial or
other advantage” (Section 1 Bribery Act) to anyone even remotely connected to the organisations. This means that a meal at a lavish hotel will be
classed as a bribe.
It is a ‘Strict Liability’ offence… in other words; if bribery has taken place the whole organisation and its directors will be AUTOMATICALLY
guilty (Section 7 Bribery Act). No ‘innocent until proven guilty’ here, just guilt and there’s no way of escaping it!
The Conservative Party were unhappy with these proposals back in April 2010 and tried to ‘water down’ the Act so it was more lenient to the
business elite. Whether good or bad, they had little effect.
So what now?
Well, the Bribery Act is HUGE in the world of business, governments and other organisations. It effects not only the transactions in the UK but to
anyone closely connected to the United Kingdom. The transactions do not even have to take place on UK soil.
This makes a huge problem for charities…
What happens when UK charities need to get past borders and checkpoints to hand out aid? It is common practice to bribe the guards at the checkpoint
with money, or food and water because a lot of the time these guards are just as much in need as others in the area. BUT now these charities will be
automatically guilty back in the UK for these ‘bribes’.
So, to conclude…
The Bribery Act is an eagerly waited addition to the United Kingdom legal system. It will certainly help prevent the hidden corruption and dishonesty
that floods countless organisations within the UK. Businesses will need to be conducted carefully with more honesty. It will be a huge obstacle for
the elite as it means that even they will be liable for corrupt practices.
However, the problems begin when bribes are genuinely needed to get aid across, for example in Libya. Is it fair that these aid workers should be
guilty of bribery when they are performing such an altruistic act?
We shall see how it all works out when the Bribery Act comes into force in the UK on 1st July 2011. Let us hope that this will make a genuine change
in politics, business and other corrupt organisations.