Bribery & Corruption: Central Issues in UK Elections

9 04 2010

Artists Against Corruption predicts that Bribery & Corruption will be recurring themes in the UK´s national election campaigns which began this week. Perhaps in an effort to demonstrate it is against corruption, and off-set the damage of the MP´s expenses scandals, the Labour Party this week passed the Bribery Bill in one of the last acts of the government.

The fraudulent expenses claims of British MP´s hit the news headlines in the UK on several occasions over the last year or so, and we can expect this issue to raise it´s head during the elections. Lasting damage was done to the credibility of the labour government and to the whole institution of government in the UK. The passing of the Bribery Bill goes some way to making amends, but was required action as a result of corporate scandals by large companies such as BAE systems, and in order to ensure the UK falls into line with tougher anticorruption measures required by international conventions that the UK has subscribed to. It will also help reverse the UK´s declining position on transparency International´s Corruption Perception Index.

But, no sooner has the Bill been passed than the Labour party, and senior figures in the party, are being linked to a major corruption scandal exposed in the Guardian Newspaper today. Their association with a businessman, his donations to the party, and various appointments he received, are all mentioned. According to the paper, “Victor Dahdaleh, a London-based aluminium trader, has had his Belgravia premises searched by the Serious Fraud Office, and offshore bank accounts linked to him are being examined in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. He is also under criminal investigation by the US department of justice.”

Artists Against Corruption welcomes the passing of the Bribery Bill, and hopes that the next government will support the enforcement of it by giving clear guidance and additional resources to the Serious Fraud Office. Without these steps the Bill will be worthless. During the campaign we hope that all parties will state their support for the measure and make pledges to finance its enforcement. 

Announcement of the passing of the Bribery Bill

News of the new Labour Party link to Corruption

UK Bribery Bill May Not Pass Before Election

4 03 2010

In an article for the Financial Times newspaper Charles Falconer, former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, warned that the UK Bribery Bill may fail as a result of a lack of time before the General  Election. He suggests that Britain needs to go the last mile on bribery because, “We in Britain pride ourselves on playing by the rules. In the area of foreign bribery we do not have that reputation.”

He stresses the importance of the bill saying, ” The bribery bill is the most powerful weapon yet for Britain’s anti-corruption police. If enacted, it would give the Serious Fraud Office the powers to deal with corruption by UK companies, no matter where it occurs. The bill would abolish all existing bribery offences and create four new ones – including making it an offence to bribe another person or to be bribed.”

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