UK: Welcome surge in UK anti-bribery activity must be sustained

TI-UK response to TI Progress Report on Compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Issued by Transparency International UK

The UK’s record on tackling foreign bribery has improved significantly over the last year according to Transparency International (TI) the global coalition against corruption.

Its latest report rates 36 signatory countries on their enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and shows that the UK has moved into the ‘active enforcement’ category for the first time. Along with Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the United States – the UK is now among the seven countries actively enforcing the Convention.

TI rated 20 countries in the ‘little or no enforcement’ category. Nine countries - including G8 members France and Japan – are rated moderate enforcers of the Convention.

Commenting on the turnaround in the UK’s enforcement record Chandrashekhar Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said:

‘This is welcome news for the UK’s reputation despite the disappointing announcement last week that the new Bribery Act’s commencement is to be delayed until April 2011. The improvement in UK performance reflects the recent surge in activity by the enforcement authorities who have now brought 10 cases – up from zero in 2008.

‘If the UK is to sustain its new-found reputation for being tougher on foreign bribery, law enforcement authorities need the necessary political support and additional resources. It’s also vital that the consultation on the official government guidance on compliance with the new Bribery Act should not result in any weakening of its provisions.

‘From the global perspective, it is extremely disturbing that half the countries who have signed up to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention are doing virtually nothing to enforce it. Pressure must be brought to bear to raise their game and help create a more level playing field for active enforcers.‘

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