Yesterday the UK Justice Minister, Ken Clarke, announced that implementation of the Bribery Act will be delayed until April 2011. This is disappointing as it means the landmark new Act will come into force nearly a whole year after it passed through parliament and received Royal Assent.
The delay also means that UK companies that commit foreign bribery will continue to evade prosecution under our current, outdated laws. This raises questions about the new coalition government’s commitment to stamping out bribery and corruption by British business overseas.
At the same time the Government announced a public consultation on the guidance for business that will accompany the Act. CAFOD is concerned that some companies may use the consultation period to push for a weakening of the Act.
To prevent this happening, the consultation process must be fully transparent and open to a broad range of stakeholders, including NGOs, and not just business.