By Philip Hayden, 23rd August 2018
On the 30th of July this year, the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 was implemented, drafted in response to both results of Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, commonly known as the Mahon Tribunal and various recommendations by the Government. This legislation forms part of the White Collar Crime Package announced by the Government in November 2017. The Act, which covers a broad range of company types and individuals in several formats, consolidates existing Irish law surrounding bribery and corruption and places emphasis on white collar crime. The key areas the legislation targets are as per the below:
- Active and passive forms of corruption or trading influence – gifts or rewards
- Corruption in office – targeting officials both Irish and EU based
- Gifts or Rewards to facilitate an offence
- Falsifying documentation
- Intimidation in all forms
What does this mean for your Company?
The Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 extends the veil of responsibility when it comes to a company. Any officer of a company, employee, agent of or anyone who can be said to be acting on the instructions of a company can be found guilty of corruption or bribery under current legislation. This new act apportions blame to the company as well as the individual. As such, the corporate responsibility of a company is increased to cover all individuals operating within.
How can a company protect itself?
As prescribed by the act, a company must be able to display that is has taken all reasonable steps to avoid an individual acting on behalf of the company does not commit an offence under the act. Once an intent to benefit the company can be established in the actions of an individual this extends the blame to the corporate entity. As preventative measures, a company should firstly conduct full due diligence on all representatives, regardless of authority level. Where a policy of gift or consideration exists within a company, a full policy and staff training should be mandatory in all cases and extensively documented.
Paying the penalty
If a company is found liable through an individual acting on behalf it will be liable to a fine of up to €5,000 on summary conviction and, on indictment no limit to the amount of the fine is applicable. In the same vein, the individual will incur similar fine structure but will also be liable to 12 months in prison on summary conviction and up to 10 years on indictment.
Should you wish to find out more about The Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018, protecting your company against corruption and bribery or conducting correct due diligence on individuals please don’t hesitate to contact Company Bureau on 01-6461625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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