Facilitation payments are often indistinguishable from bribes. As bribery and corruption becomes a key concern for firms doing business globally, issues such as facilitation payments and their recording can pose a challenge to companies. As the global legislation around bribery and corruption continues to increase, with many countries developing their own set of rules and regulations on what is and is not acceptable, companies need to ensure they are compliant with these laws in the markets they operate.
The most prominent of these legislations are the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 1977 (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act, 2010. Both laws attempt to define the scope of what constitutes a bribe and the corresponding penalties, maintenance of books and records and jurisdiction of applicability.
While the FCPA covers public bribery offences, the UK Bribery Act covers commercial bribery as well as bribery of public officials and prohibits facilitation payments. Additionally, the jurisdiction of the UK Bribery Act is extra-territorial providing UK authorities with the ability to pursue an act of bribery by British nationals, companies, or residents irrespective of place of offence.
These multiple stringent legislations, in addition to the existing Indian Prevention of Corruption Act, can make it difficult for companies to monitor their compliance and frame a suitable firm-wide anti-bribery and corruption policy. For companies planning to expand their business scope to cover new geographies, this would entail additional scrutiny of their business practices as well as those of their business partners and associates.
We help companies review their existing policies around bribery and corruption and devise a process for continuous monitoring. We also conduct due diligence on past cases of non-compliance and assist firms in their reporting process.
We have organized ethical dilemma workshops for leading organizations in India covering issues around US FCPA and the UK Bribery Act, which had helped firms clearly communicate this message to all employees.