A few days ago, thebriberyact.com drew attention to changes on the Serious Fraud Office web site pages about facilitation payments and corporate hospitality. The changes consisted merely of a statement that the area was “currently under revision”.
The thebriberyact.com’s latest article is headed Confusion must not fill the vacuum following removal of SFO guidance. The presence or absence of any guidance is less significant, perhaps, than the general view that the SFO lacks the will or the ability to take any useful steps anyway.
Don’t bank on that. Every day which passes since the Bribery Act took effect diminishes the excuses which a company can offer about the extent and usefulness of its “adequate procedures” to prevent bribery. The SFO has a new broom at the top, David Green QC, who seems rather more focused on the real purpose of the Bribery Act than was his predecessor – or, at least, that is the impression he seems keen to convey.
I suspect that the forthcoming amendments to the pages which are under revision is but reculer pour mieux sauter, a regrouping before the big push. The SFO is known to have some investigations – some stemming from self-reporting, others not – bubbling on its stove. Make sure your adequate procedures are indeed adequate.