I blogged earlier this year on the Bribery Act 2010 and the implications it might have from an employment law perspective. Earlier this month, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced the first prosecution and conviction under the Act since its coming into force on 1 July this year.
A former magistrates’ court administrative officer, Munir Patel, was convicted under the Act on 14 October after he admitted to accepting a bribe of £500 in return for overlooking a speeding charge. His actions fell foul of section 2 of the Act which makes it an offence to “request, agree to receive or accept a financial or other advantage intending that, in consequence, a relevant function or activity should be performed improperly.”
Patel is currently on bail awaiting sentencing which is due to take place on 11 November. He could face significant sanctions as the Act provides that an individual convicted of an offence under section 2 can be liable to a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.
Bear in mind also that, whilst it was not relevant in this case, there is the potential for criminal sanctions to be imposed not only upon the individual employee but also upon the organisation that employs the individual in the event that it can be demonstrated that it failed to prevent bribery.
Remember though that it is a defence to such a charge against a company if it is able to prove that it had adequate procedures in place designed to prevent bribery from being committed by those performing services on its behalf. Employers should therefore ensure that they remain vigilant when it comes to preventing bribery and have clear anti-bribery policies in place within their organisations which all staff are aware of.
For more general information on the Bribery Act 2010, please see our Article here which was published earlier this year.