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Brown Envelopes

There is a perception in the public that our corruption index is high. Only full and open investigation and punishment of offenses will reduce this perception.

It is not helped by the fact that the law relating to corruption in Ireland is controversial. It is strewn over several pieces of legislation and has been criticized on a regular basis by the OECD expressly for that reason.

Two weapons in the State’s armoury were brought in by Britain (still in force in the UK), (The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 and the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916) and are old. They are also inadequate. (The 1916 Act does not apply to employers: who, but employers, will fund the bribery?).

Ireland ratified the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions but, like many others, has dragged its heels in actually acting on its obligations.

In 2008 the OECD reported:

“In particular, the Working Group is disappointed that Ireland did not seize the opportunity of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2008 to act upon the Phase 2 recommendations to consolidate and harmonise the two separate foreign bribery offences in the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. The Group therefore recommends, as it did in 2007, that Ireland act on this issue as a matter of priority. It urges Ireland to pursue its declared intent to make changes to the 2008 Bill in order to achieve greater consistency between the two statutes, and consolidate at the first possible opportunity the corruption offences into a single piece of legislation. In addition, the Group continues to recommend that Ireland adopt on a high priority basis appropriate legislation to achieve effective corporate liability for foreign bribery.”

The Minister for Justice etc. welcomed this report, congratulating some civil servants, in effect, for meeting regularly to keep under review Ireland’s continuing default.

This is not academic stuff. See HERE.

And what of the, inadequate and insufficient, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2008?

It’s not even in sight.