Picture an all too common scenario: An importer of fresh produce learns that a shipment has been held up at customs abroad. Although there is no legitimate reason for delay, the foreign port authorities insist upon carrying out unspecified administrative checks and searches that "could take weeks". In the meantime, the cargo sits on the dockside baking in the hot sun. It is likely to perish in days. If the shipment is not made on time, a valuable client will be lost. A representative of the port authorities explains that for "small fee", the formalities can be waived and the cargo approved. Does paying this fee constitute a bribe?… Continue Reading
We had a nice long wait for the Government's guidance but I, for one, feel that the wait wasn't really worthwhile. The Act itself is really a gold plated effort by parliament to bring our bribery laws into the 21st century, but the Guidance falls far short of the standard set by the Act.… Continue Reading
It was recently reported by various broadcasters, including Sky News, that the UK had allegedly paid "bribes" to Libyan officials in order to get British citizens out of Libya. Apparently, UK officials were forced to hand over more than £11,000 to Colonel Gaddafi's government for each and every one of the rescue flights that landed at Tripoli airport.
To my mind, these payments raise two questions: should such payments really be considered bribes (in the context of the UK Bribery Act or otherwise) and, if so, is it acceptable for them to be made in the circumstances?… Continue Reading