UK authorities have disposed of the first corporate offence of 'failing to prevent bribery' four years after the offence became available, with Brand-Rex Limited self-reporting contravention of the Bribery Act 2010 and agreeing to pay £212,800 in civil recovery.
What you need to know:
- The necessity of 'adequate' procedures. Brand-Rex reportedly had anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) policies and procedures in place but did not attempt to assert that they were 'adequate'; which would have been a complete defence.
- The benefits of undertaking a full internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing and making a prompt self-report to the appropriate authorities.
- There are clear advantages to taking swift and decisive action. This case went from self-report of bribery-related conduct to disposal in four months.
- The developing legal circumstances. Brand-Rex took advantage of a specific voluntary disclosure programme in Scotland, which came to an end on 30 June 2015 and has never been available in England.
- Now is a good time to refresh ABC risk assessments.
- Verify that policies and procedures are in fact 'adequate' to meet key risks and that they have been properly implemented, especially overseas.
- Conduct refresher training for key management, staff and third parties.
- Review ABC due diligence processes in relation to existing and future business partners and other third parties.
- Ensure that ABC compliance is properly resourced.
- Verify that matters such as Board-level engagement and messaging are sufficient and properly recorded.