Answer ... The United Kingdom is the 11th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. The index scores on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The United Kingdom scored 80 points out of 100 on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Many bribery-related cases are still being prosecuted under earlier laws. Indeed, between 2014 and the second quarter of 2018, the CPS launched 107 proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, compared with around 42 for all offences under the Bribery Act 2010.
According to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Bribery Act 2010, 2011 to 2017 saw 22 prosecutions under Section 1 of the Bribery Act (offering or giving a bribe), which led to 14 convictions. These resulted in 10 custodial sentences, three suspended sentences and one community sentence. For the same period for the Section 2 offence of requesting or accepting a bribe, there were 14 convictions, leading to seven custodial sentences, five suspended sentences and one community sentence.
Most of the earliest cases brought under the Bribery Act were relatively minor, involving bribes of less than £10,000. It appears that more large-scale corporate cases are now being brought, albeit not many.
The SFO’s first successful Bribery Act 2010 conviction of individuals came in 2014, in relation to the prosecution of two men involved in a £23 million fraud concerning Sustainable AgroEnergy’s (SAE) biofuel investment products. SAE’s former director and chief commercial officer received bribes in exchange for false invoices.
In 2015 construction company Sweett Group PLC was the first to be convicted under the Section 7 Bribery Act offence of failing to prevent bribery. It was fined £2.25 million after it admitted failing to prevent an act of bribery intended to secure and retain a contract with an insurance company in the United Arab Emirates.
The first contested Section 7 case was concluded in 2018 after Skansen Interiors reported bribery by two employees to the police and was itself charged with the offence. Skansen argued that it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery, but a jury found this not to be the case. The company had ceased trading in 2014 and was given an absolute discharge.
The SFO’s first conviction after trial of a corporate for offences involving bribery of foreign public officials came in 2014, leading to printing company Smith and Ouzman being ordered to pay £2.2 million for its corrupt payments to officials in Kenya and Mauritania.
While the number of prosecutions has been relatively low under the 2010 Act, it should also be noted that the DPAs concluded with Standard Bank, Sarclad and Rolls-Royce were all bribery related.