The Crown Prosecution Service has commenced its first prosecution under the Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on 1 July this year. Munir Yakub Patel, an administrative clerk at Redbridge Magistrates' Court, Ilford, London, is facing a charge in relation to allegations that he committed a bribery offence during the course of his employment.

Mr Patel is alleged to have accepted a payment of £500 on 1 August 2011 in exchange for using his position of employment to influence criminal proceedings for a motoring offence. He will be prosecuted under section 2 of the Act, which prohibits an individual from requesting and receiving a bribe in order to improperly perform their functions. The case will commence at Southwark Crown Court on 14 October 2011.

The Crown Prosecution Service believes they have sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute Mr Patel. Individuals found guilty of an offence under the Act can face up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine.

This case serves as a reminder that the Bribery Act has arrived and will be enforced. It is not only individuals who should be concerned about bribery offences but also companies - who could be guilty of an offence under the Act where they have failed to take adequate procedures to prevent bribery occurring in connection with their organisation. Companies found guilty of the offence of failing to prevent bribery are liable for an unlimited fine. Furthermore, company directors could face prosecution and disqualification.