Corporate Hospitality or Bribery ?
A thorny question. The provision of a business meal on expenses would generally not fall foul, unless of course the invitee is being flown in a private jet to some far flung destination. An extreme example, but businesses are, or should be, well aware of the limits.
According to The Rt Hon Gilbert Licudi QC MP in his Budget Speech of 9th July 2012 The Crimes Act 2011 is due to come into force on 1st October 2012. Sections 566 to 582 cover offences of bribery and are similarly drafted to the Bribery Act 2010 in England and Wales which came into force on 1st July 2011. Not only will those directly involved in the giving and receiving of a bribe be liable to prosecution, but so also will an incorporated body or partnership be liable to prosecution if an “associated” person bribes another. This will mean that such bodies or partnership will have to put into place adequate procedures preventing such conduct. If such adequate procedures exist then a statutory defence is available under Section 572(2).
At Governor’s Street Chambers we are in a position to advise those at risk as to the measures that need to be taken to prevent the mischief aimed by the new Act. Over the next few weeks we shall be publishing on this website general advice and looking at the impact of these sections as they will affect businesses either operating in Gibraltar or having been incorporated in Gibraltar carrying on business elsewhere. Those in this latter category will still be caught by the Act, as indeed they would also be under the 2010 Act.
The first prosecution in England attracted an immediate custodial sentence of 3 years for a magistrates’ court clerk accepting a bribe of £500, which sentence was not reduced by the Court of Appeal, although the court did reduce his sentence for misconduct of public office from 6 years to 4 years, to run concurrently.
We would advise that businesses should put in place procedures in an attempt to prevent bribery by its employees or agents. Should a business discover conduct which could amount to bribery, then we would advise obtaining expert independent legal advice.