David Luijerink, KPMG Forensic Partner, says “The removal of the facilitation payment defence means businesses would no longer be able to make facilitation payments. Although some businesses have now explicitly banned staff from making facilitation payments, those that have not should review their anti-bribery and corruption framework and consider the practical implications in order to prepare for this possible reform.”
“It is essential that businesses possess good understanding of their obligations and the risks they face both domestically and internationally, beyond the development of the risk management framework, as the Government takes an increasingly active role in fighting global corruption,” says Mr Luijerink.
The Government’s facilitation payments proposal also comes shortly after the first conviction in October 2011, under the UK Bribery Act.
“The UK Bribery Act is one of the broadest anti-corruption legislation at present and this conviction reflects the significance of the Act in the fight against corruption,” says Mr Luijerink.
Further, the Serious Fraud Office - the lead agency in England and Wales for investigating and prosecuting cases of overseas corruptions – is communicating with businesses in the UK requesting that if the company and individuals are asked to make a facilitation payment in the course of doing business overseas, that they report it.
“While businesses are not obligated to self-report, the incentive to do so is the knowledge that self-reporting may be viewed more favourably rather than in the case of a subsequent investigation where it is found that such requests took place but were not accounted for,” says Mr Luijerink.
"In this increasingly global world, businesses need to demonstrate that they have embedded sufficient risk management practices to mitigate bribery risks, which should include mechanisms to enable a suspected offer or receipt of bribery to be reported even where it may only be considered as facilitating the process," says Mr Luijerink.