A Glasgow-based logistics company, Braid Group, has agreed to pay a £2.2 million fine for breaching the UK Bribery Act 2010.
Braid uncovered the acts of bribery themselves when they “discovered potentially dishonest activities” relating to two freight-forwarding contracts in 2012.
An internal investigation confirmed that there were breaches of the Bribery Act 2010. Those involved were sacked and Braid reported the case to the Crown Office.
Alasdair Davidson, group financial director at Braid Logistics, said: “The activities uncovered in this case were the unauthorised actions of a small number of individuals who are no longer employed by the company.
“Braid UK’s rapid and thorough response to these pursuits and the wholesale changes we have now made in our company’s systems led to our case being conducted on civil grounds.
“During this process we have worked closely with the (Crown Office) Civil Recovery Unit which has commended Braid UK for its cooperation in self-reporting.”
Bribery Act 2010
Brought into effect July 2011, the Bribery Act 2010 replaced the anti-bribery laws, which had been described as inconsistent, anachronistic and inadequate. The need for a revision was widely recognised by legal commentators and practitioners, and had full support from all parties as it went through parliament.
I’ve put together some information on the Bribery Act that I think you should know – information that I believe will encourage you to do something about bribery within your organisation.
- British nationals living or working abroad can be prosecuted under the Act for their activities anywhere in the world.
- The penalties under the Act are severe – there is a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine for individuals. Corporates can also face an unlimited fine.
- In addition, where a person (including a corporate) has been convicted of a corruption offence, they face an automatic ban from tendering for EU public contracts.
- Confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which seeks to take away the entire benefit obtained by the wrongdoer as a result of his offences.
- In the worst case, a conviction for a bribery offence could result in a business being ordered to pay a sum equivalent to its entire revenue for the previous six years, in addition to any fine levied under the Act.
- There is a full defence if you can show you have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
(You can find out more about the Bribery Act 2010 in the ‘An Introduction to Anti-Bribery Management Systems (BS 10500)’ pocket guide.)
The last point states that if there has been a bribery offence at an organisation and “adequate procedures” were put in place to prevent it, then the organisation is able to argue a full defence.
Adequate procedures are defined in the BS 10500 Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) Specification, which provides a proven framework that can be employed by organisations for managing and continually improving policies, procedures and practices that enable compliance with the Bribery Act 2010.
For those that plan to implement BS 10500 in their organisation, I highly suggest using the ABMS Anti-Bribery Documentation Toolkit. The toolkit provides you with templates and documents needed for compliance, and shows you how to integrate them with your existing management system.