1. Two thirds of respondents to Ernst & Young’s recently commissioned report on fraud and corruption in the Middle East said that fraud and bribery was a “major problem“ in the Middle East, but only 14 per cent believed that corruption was an issue in their company. (May 2012)
2. The UK Bribery Act 2010 includes a corporate offence of “failing to prevent bribery” by persons associated with an organisation. This applies to any foreign (i.e. non-UK) business which conducts any business in the UK. It could therefore have significant implications for regional businesses. The punishment is an unlimited fine.
3. The only defence to a charge of “failing to prevent bribery” is to put into place “adequate” anti-bribery procedures, on which the UK Ministry of Justice has published guidance and companies in the region have introduced as part of their standard working practices.
4. The UK Bribery Act extends to any act or omission (i) that take place in the UK or (ii) are done by a person having a “close connection” with the UK (e.g. a place of incorporation, citizenship or place of residence) regardless of where in the world the act or omission takes place.
5. Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen have each signed and ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Saudi Arabia and Syria have signed the Convention but not ratified its terms. Oman is not a signatory to the Convention.
6. Laws on corruption (with sentences of up to 20 years) were introduced by the Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in late 2009 (Law No. 37 of 2009).
7. It was reported in June 2012 that the State Audit Bureau of the UAE has been instructed to prepare a new anti-corruption law to fulfil the country’s commitment to the UN Convention on Corruption.
8. Article 186 of the Bahraini Penal Code defines bribery as being when a civil servant or officer entrusted with public service asks for or accepts a gift, privilege or promise to be given in consideration of doing an act or omitting to do an act involved in the duties of his office. It can be money, objects of value, advantages or merely a promise.
9. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has established the ‘Anti-corruption National Commission’ aimed at protecting integrity, promoting the principle of transparency, and fighting against financial and administrative corruption. As an example of the increased focus on corruption in Saudi Arabia, in May 2012, the Board of Grievances jailed 7 men for up to 5 years each and fined them each up to US$186,000 for their role in bribery that permitted the building of residential neighbourhoods in flood-prone areas.
10. The strictness and the ambition of UAE Law No. 37 of 2009, the Bahraini Penal Code, the UK Bribery Act 2010 and the work by the State Audit Bureau of the UAE are all part of a significant worldwide trend of amplified anti-corruption enforcement. The enforcement of anti-corruption legislation is growing in the course of increasingly publicised proceedings, which have already generated several billion dollars in fines worldwide.
Source : nortonrose