“Bribery And Corruption Must Be Stamped Out”

June 8, 2017

Following yesterday’s announcement regarding the Bribery Act 2016 that will come into force on 1 September 2017, Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs Trevor Moniz has today issued a guidance document about procedures which “relevant commercial organisations can put into place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing.”

Minister Moniz provided a written foreword in guidance stating: “The twin scourges of bribery and corruption must be stamped out. In addition to individuals and businesses who suffer directly, there is a well-documented, corrosive effect on democracy and the rule of law.

“Taxpayers are defrauded, honest businesses suffer from unfair competition and a society’s economic and social development is undermined. That bribery and corruption are morally repugnant should be self-evident to any right-thinking member of society.

“The International Monetary Fund estimates that public sector corruption siphons $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion annually from the global economy in bribes and costs far more in stunted economic growth, lost tax revenues and sustained poverty.

“The indirect costs of corruption are too numerous to estimate but are thought to include increased income inequality, skewed public infrastructure investment and decreased social spending on healthcare and education.

“Bermuda may be an island; it nonetheless plays a fully integrated role in the international community.

“The Bribery Act 2016 represents a major step towards Bermuda meeting an international gold standard in the fight against bribery and corruption. It also paves the way for Bermuda to join the international community under the auspices of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

“In recent years, much progress has been made to combat economic crime of all kinds, particularly in the field of money-laundering and terrorist financing. This is part of a multi-agency and multi-partner strategy to maintain the island’s status as a clean and reputable business jurisdiction.

“The previous law on corruption was unsatisfactory. The new Act will provide a modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences, in order to allow investigators, prosecutors and the courts to tackle bribery effectively whether committed at home or overseas.

“The offences created will address both sides of the bribery equation, instead of the one-sided approach adopted by current corruption offences, which focus only on the recipients of the bribes. The Act will help to enhance Bermuda’s international reputation for the highest ethical standards.

“Enacting legislation, while necessary, is only a first step. Bermuda as a society must be prepared to take action when and where we see corruption.

“It requires the Government to protect taxpayers by designing improved public procurement procedures and by recovering the proceeds of crime through the courts.

“It requires community leaders to match anti-corruption rhetoric with deeds and robust support. It requires public servants and businesses to take timely action when relevant information comes to their attention. It requires us to overcome a reluctance in the community to deal with these difficult issues.

“It is not enough to say that we are against corruption. We need to take action – to improve things going forward, to punish past wrong-doing and to ensure that victims of corruption can seek recompense through established procedures.

“The Act creates offences of offering or receiving bribes, of bribery of foreign public officials and of failure to prevent a bribe being paid on an organisation’s behalf. These are certainly tough rules. But readers should understand too that they are directed at making life difficult for the mavericks responsible for corruption, not unduly burdening the vast majority of decent, law-abiding firms.

“In line with the Bribery Act’s statutory requirements, I am publishing this guidance to help organisations understand the legislation and deal with the risks of bribery. My aim is that it offers clarity on how the law will operate.

“I have also listened carefully to stakeholder representations to ensure the Act is implemented in a workable way – especially for small firms that have limited resources. And, as I hope this guidance shows, combating the risks of bribery is largely about common sense, not burdensome procedures. The core principle it sets out is proportionality. It also offers case study examples that help illuminate the application of the Act.

“Ultimately, the Bribery Act matters for Bermuda because our existing legislation is out of date. In updating our rules, I say to our international partners that Bermuda is ready, willing and able to play a leading role in stamping out corruption.”

The Bribery Act 2016 Guidance is below [PDF here]

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Comments (9)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    Just in time for an election!

  2. Say Whaat says:

    And we have to make sure to enforce it AFTER we sell the airport etc.

  3. Onion Juice says:

    Are you gonna go back as far as U.B.P. days?

  4. Cow Polly says:

    Get this passed quickly!

  5. Justin says:

    Now that this will be in place I wouldn’t be surprised to see half the PLP politicians get out of politics.

  6. Bermyman says:

    This is a bit of a relief should the PLP get in again!

  7. Aqua cadit resurge says:

    I would request and require present govt. have a quick and earnest look at the laws repealed by plp concerning trespass private property…look at how many…and their possible design!
    There were sooooooo many!
    Their reasons are blatent …but to what end and why were they repealed?
    There is no legitimate or goodly reason….as all law is based on reason…reasonable and unreasonable…..well I invite all business and property owners to research my intonation.ASAP.
    It was done by and during plp.

  8. aceboy says:

    Fact is we fall under the UK Bribery Act anyway, this just shores up the local legislation. As it should.