Joint Committee on The Draft Corruption Bill Report

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  We are not persuaded that UK companies should be made explicitly liable for the actions of non-resident foreign subsidiaries and agents because the individuals - in many cases nationals of the countries concerned - will be subject to national law in that jurisdiction. (Paragraph 78)

2.  The case for a separate offence of trading in influence is not, in our view, convincing. (Paragraph 79)

3.  The draft Bill does not seem to us the appropriate vehicle for giving a statutory definition of misconduct in public office. (Paragraph 80)

4.  Our overall conclusion, however, is that by adopting only the agent/principal approach the Bill does not proceed on the right basis and that corrupt acts outside that relationship ought to be included in the Bill (Paragraph 81)

5.  The Committee has therefore concluded that the only way to address the problems which are inherent in the Bill (which arise from agent/principal model) is to move away from the definition of 'corruptly' in Clause 5. (Paragraph 89)

6.  Having examined all these different models, we consider that (leaving aside related offences) the essence of corruption could be expressed in the following terms:

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 functions. (Paragraph 92)

7.  As we have already indicated, it could be possible to substitute for 'improper advantage' the words 'advantage to which a person is not legally entitled'. (Paragraph 93)

8.  In the light of the criticisms which have been made of it, we do not consider that the draft Bill should be left as it stands on the essential issue. …We conclude that the Bill would still be obscure and unsatisfactory if the offences remain based on the concept of agency. (Paragraph 98)

9.  We believe that a Bill centred on a simple definition such as ours would be clearer and would work better. We also believe it would be more likely to receive general approval. (Paragraph 99)

10.  We consider it would be better if the Joint Committee recommendations were followed and a Parliamentary Privilege Bill dealing with all these matters were brought forward. (Paragraph 114)

11.  We therefore recommend that Clause 12 be narrowed. This would apply only to the words or actions of an MP or peer in a case where he is the defendant. …. We also recommend that, to the extent that the words or actions of an MP or peer are admissible for or against him, they should also be admissible for or against all co-defendants in respect of corruption offences based on the same facts. (Paragraph 134)

12.  We recommend that Clause 12 be redrafted on the lines set out in paragraph 135 (Paragraph 135)

13.  We recommend that Clause 17 be replaced by a requirement for the consent to be given by Director of Public Prosecutions or one nominated deputy. (Paragraph 139)

14.  For these reasons, we recommend that the Government gives further consideration to the question of whether the Clause 15 exemption for intelligence agencies is so wide that Clause 15 risks non-compliance with the UK's international obligations. (Paragraph 153)

15.  We also recommend that the Government considers whether Clause 15 should be amended so that the exemption for activities of the intelligence agencies applies only to acts or omissions done or made in the interests of national security or of preventing or detecting serious crime. (Paragraph 154)

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