The on-going investigation into the drugs maker GlaxoSmithKline regarding allegations of bribery highlights the need for commercial organisations to consider their compliance with anti-bribery legislation.
In the United Kingdom, the Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1st July 2011 and heralded a new regime designed to modernise and simplify the law on bribery to allow prosecutors and the courts to deal with it more effectively.
Under section 1 of the Bribery Act, a person (P) is guilty of an offence where they offer, promise or give a financial advantage to another person in two cases:
- Case one, where P intends the advantage to bring about an improper performance of a relevant function or an activity by another person or to reward such improper performance
- Case two, where P knows or believes that the acceptance of the advantage offered, promised or given, in itself constitutes the improper performance of a relevant function or activity
Section 2 also provides for offences relating to being bribed and which can make the recipient or potential recipient of a bribe liable to prosecution.
Most concerning to commercial organisations is perhaps that section 7 of the Bribery Act provides that a commercial organisation (C) is guilty of an offence if a person associated with C bribes another person, intending to obtain or retain business or a business advantage for C. The offence can be committed in the United Kingdom or overseas.
A commercial organisation can, however, defend itself under section 7 if it can show that it had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent bribery. Within this in mind, commercial organisations should:
- Prohibit bribery in any form, whether direct or indirect and by or for the organisation
- Commit to implementing systems to counter bribery
At Franklins, my team and I, in liaison with our Employment division, regularly advise businesses on anti-bribery compliance and putting in place suitable systems and policies. If you think you require assistance with the anti-bribery legislation or would like to clarify any particular matter - please feel free to contact me on 01908 660 966 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a quick question or want to comment - please drop your comments below and I'd be happy to help as much as I can.