162. At the start of this report we listed the key
questions we have addressed in this inquiry. Our answers to those
questions are now as follows:
Is the existing law on corruption so deficient
that it is necessary now to legislate?
If so, does the Draft Bill criminalise all conduct
which is corrupt without criminalising any conduct which is not?
It fails to cover some corrupt conduct such as when
the head of one company bribes the head of another company (neither
being agents) or when the principal consents to the bribery of
his agent (so it is not an offence).
Further, does the Draft Bill state clearly what
types of conduct are punishable as corrupt in language which can
readily understood by the police, by prosecutors, by jurors and
by the public, including - especially - the business and public
sector communities, and their advisors, both here and abroad?
What is the essence of corrupt conduct? How might
it be defined? What distinguishes corrupt conduct from lawful
conduct? Does this Bill draw that line in the correct place? In
particular, is the definition in the Bill - which confined corruptness
exclusively to a principal/agent relationship - both complete
and robust, and is it clear so that it can readily be understood
by all relevant parties?
We believe that (leaving aside related offences)
the essence of corruption would be better expressed as in the
A person acts corruptly if he gives, offers or agrees
to give an improper advantage with the intention of influencing
the recipient in the performance of his duties or functions;
A person acts corruptly if he receives, asks for
or agrees to receive an improper advantage with the intention
that it will influence him in the performance of his duties or
Should parliamentary privilege be waived in corruption
Yes - but in a narrower form than proposed in the
Should the Attorney General's consent for prosecution
for corruption offences be required?
No - the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions
or one nominated deputy would be sufficient.
Should the Intelligence Services be exempt from
prosecution for corruption offences?'
The compatibility of this provision with international
law needs to be re-considered.
The Committee invites the Home Office to bring forward
a revised Bill taking account of these points.