18/12/2013 - Ireland should increase its resources to detect and investigate foreign bribery more efficiently. Resources have, in recent years, been largely devoted to investigating non-bribery cases in the financial sector. Ireland has not prosecuted a foreign bribery case in the twelve years since its foreign bribery offence came into force, and law enforcement has taken few proactive steps to investigate allegations, says a new report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on Ireland's implementation of the Convention of Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. To improve Ireland's fight against foreign bribery, the Group recommends that Ireland:
- Urgently reorganise law enforcement resources to ensure credible foreign bribery allegations are investigated and prosecuted;
- Consider how to apply cost-effective and simple detection and investigative steps at the earliest opportunity to more actively enforce Ireland's foreign bribery offence;
- Proceed with its reform of anti-corruption legislation and use this opportunity to consolidate and harmonise inconsistencies between Ireland's two foreign bribery offences that could be obstacles to effective enforcement, and review, on a high priority basis, Ireland’s law on corporate liability for foreign bribery; and
- Harmonise the confusing plethora of legal provisions on whistleblower protections, to encourage reporting of foreign bribery allegations.
The report also highlighted positive aspects of Ireland's efforts to fight foreign bribery. Ireland has broadened the forms of bribes and expanded the categories of foreign public officials covered by the foreign bribery offence in the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010 (POCA 2010). Under POCA 2010, Ireland now has jurisdiction over foreign bribery committed abroad by Irish companies and nationals. The sanctions for false accounting offences have increased under the Companies Act 1990. And the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been raising awareness among its staff of the Irish foreign bribery offence and how to report possible violations of this law to law enforcement.
The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa – adopted Ireland's report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The Report, available here, lists all of the recommendations of the Working Group to Ireland on pages 50-53, and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of Ireland's framework for fighting foreign bribery. As with other Working Group members, Ireland will submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Spencer Wilson, OECD Media Division (firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. + 33 1 45 24 81 18).For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption.