Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
South African companies that have operations in the UK or the US
- or are listed in these territories - that fail to comply with
anti-corruption legislation could be on the receiving end of
devastating fines or even incarceration of key stakeholders.
This is according to Steven Powell, a Forensics Executive at ENS
(Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs), who spoke at an Anti-Corruption
Compliance Seminar in Johannesburg last week.
Powell highlighted the UK Bribery Act (UKBA) of 2010, which came
into effect on 1 July 2011, as the most dramatic change to the
global corruption environment since the introduction of the Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the US more than 25 years ago.
"The UKBA is not only more aggressive, but also has more
far-reaching consequences for South African companies than the
FCPA, as it allows regulators radical powers to impose fines in
respect of corruption matters. In addition, unlike the FCPA, the
UKBA applies to both public and private sector corruption and has
also criminalized of facilitation payments, which is endemic in
most parts of Africa," says Powell.
Additionally the UKBA has created a new corporate offence,
namely the failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery.
This requires companies to put rigourous measures to prevent
He explains that from a South Africa perspective, the UKBA
applies to companies that are resident in the UK or have an
affiliate in the country. "No direct involvement from parent
companies is required in order to be prosecuted. For example, if an
agent of a South African company, with a subsidiary in the UK
engages in bribery in Africa, the company would be liable to be
prosecuted in the UK."
Powell says that with more and more South African companies
expanding into Africa, it is crucial that they educate foreign
subsidiaries, including agents and suppliers, about anti-corruption
policies, especially new or updated ones.
"As with the FCPA, the UKBA regulators will be targeting
He says that that cost of FCBA non-compliance by companies in
2011 of $508.6 million is a warning to local companies, as many
were fined due to activities by their foreign subsidiaries.
Oirignally published by iafrica.com on 23rd July
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In December 2009, a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State discharged and acquitted James Onanefe Ibori of all 170 charges of corruption brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Incidents of bribery have increased, but so has general awareness of anti-bribery compliance among organisations: these were some of the high-level findings of a recent survey conducted by ENSafrica.
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