Ten Alps Publishing
Posted: 12th December 2011
If you have sat back watching the Bribery Act 2010 news or media coverage this year thinking that this was somehow unimportant or somehow only for the big international companies, then think again!
Following on from his conviction, the first sentence involving the Bribery Act 2010 has not been handed to an ambitious and aggressive CEO, or some exiled mining magnate, but an administrative worker in the public sector who has been sentenced to six years' imprisonment after being found guilty of accepting bribes.
When we started talking with SME owners and managers over a year ago about the potential impact of the Act, most thought we were barking when we warned that an individual could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
“It will never happen” was many people’s response. Well it has.
Munir Yakub Patel, who was employed as an administrative clerk at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, has been sentenced to six years in prison after he influenced the course of criminal proceedings in relation to individuals charged with motoring offences, in exchange for payments. The maximum sentence was only saved via a one-third discount due to an early guilty plea.
As well as being the first conviction under the Act, what is also key is that Mr Patel was not the party making the bribe. Many directors who we talk to still think that it is the offering of bribes that is the offence.
That used to be the case. But it was an offence under section 2 of the new Act - requesting and receiving a bribe, with the intention that it would result in the improper performance of his functions - which Mr Patel pleaded guilty to.
So before you enjoy that festive hamper of that case of fine wine from a supplier this Xmas, then make your New Year’s resolution that you will spend the time to make yourself aware of the implications of the Act on you and your business.