When I saw there was a press release from the UK's Ministry
of Justice, I was expecting an announcement of what it meant for a commercial
organization to have "adequate procedures" to prevent bribery. That being the
only affirmative defense under the Bribery Bill.
It turns out that implementation of the Bribery
Act will be delayed until April 2011. They will start the regulatory
process for guidance on procedures which commercial organizations can put in
place to prevent bribery. That guidance is scheduled to be released in early
2011 in time for organizations to ramp up for the compliance deadline.
I view the UK Bribery Act as being more strict than the
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act since it has no exclusion for "facilitation
payments" and is not limited to government officials. The US DOJ and SEC have
stepped up their enforcement of the FCPA which makes it a big concern for any
company with international operations. We have yet to see how the UK government
will enforce its Bribery Act.
In light of the delay, Transparency International is planning to publish its own
guidance to "allow companies to get a 'head start' in tightening up their
additional commentary on developments in compliance and ethics, visit Compliance Building,
a blog hosted by Doug Cornelius.