The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010 was signed into law on 15 December 2010. The purpose of the Act is to reduce corruption and bribery by encouraging compliance with the terms of the Convention on the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the “Convention”), and imposing harsh penalties on offenders.
The Act broadens the concept of what constituted corruption as set out in the Prevention of Corruption Act 2001 by including in its scope corruptly agreeing to accept an ‘advantage’ as opposed to the previous ‘gift’ or ‘consideration’. The legislation also provides protection for persons including employees who, in good faith, report offences of corruption. Such whistleblowers are protected against both fines and penalisation by employers.
The Act follows the enactment of the Bribery Act 2010 in the UK, where an array of common law provisions and legislation required consolidation to comply with the Convention. The penalties under both the UK Act and the Irish Act are up to 10 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. Also, under both Acts, a body corporate can be held liable for the actions of its officers.