Welcome

We are a group of UK Parliamentarians passionate about tackling domestic and international corruption.

The effects of corruption are profound, impacting the lives of both UK and global citizens.   This is why we believe we must play our part in tackling this issue and in ensuring that the UK is not complicit in corruption.

If you would like to know more about the APPG, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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‘Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity’ – All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption report on anti-corruption guidance for UK exporters

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption (APPG) has released its report ‘Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity’ (Report), today 9 December 2016, International Anti-Corruption Day.

The Report concludes the APPG’s inquiry into how UK government departments could better support UK businesses to deal with the risks of bribery and corruption in high-growth markets. The Report has been sent to departments across government and to UK business groups.

Nigel Mills MP, co-Chair of the APPG said:

This Report is intended to help make the UK’s anti-corruption regime as robust and pragmatic as possible and ensure a coherent strategy is applied across the UK government.”

Catherine McKinnell , co-Chair of the APPG added:

“It is important that all businesses follow, and are enabled to follow, the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010, especially when dealing in riskier markets corruption-wise.”

The UK has the chance to demonstrate why it should remain a key global business and financial hub because it supports ethical and socially responsible business and sanctions companies which seek to play the rules. The APPG is especially concerned to see that there is a level playing field between SMEs and large or multinational companies. The UK also has the chance to engage with SMEs in high growth markets and support international development and encourage Collective Action on Anti-Corruption, among fellow governments, overseas businesses and civil society.

The APPG on Anti-Corruption champions all efforts to counter corruption at home and overseas and sees the Bribery Act 2010 and its guidance as a cornerstone of the UK’s anti-corruption infrastructure. The APPG is concerned to see that UK businesses are supported to export cleanly and with integrity – in line with Bribery Act 2010 – because it is both the right thing to do and commercially beneficial. The Report recommends and highlights that:

  • All UK businesses looking to export to markets where there is a high risk of bribery and corruption would benefit from the improved coordination and publication of existing government guidance. The current guidance could also be better framed specifically to match exporters’ needs.
  • Guidance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, in particular, needs to be better tailored to their particular contexts and needs as exporters. It also needs to be more accessible, more strategically coherent and better integrated to provide a single comprehensive body of guidance. In addition to improved access to existing guidance, SMEs could benefit from due diligence support.
  • Networks of anti-corruption expertise and formal information sharing should be created through Collective Action between businesses, especially SMEs, NGOs, the UK government and other governments in various export markets.
  • Funding for law enforcement needs to be secured to ensure prosecutions continue to act as a deterrent to corrupt behaviour.
  • A register of companies debarred from public procurement tenders would be an ambitious innovation in the next Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
  • Publishing a timeline for the implementation of public registers of beneficial ownership in the Overseas Territories would secure the government’s commitment to transparency. This would benefit UK businesses in dealings with third parties and due diligence generally.

By 2020 the UK government aims to have exported £1tn of goods and services overseas. To achieve this fast-approaching target UK Trade and Investment has stated that it is ‘imperative that we connect British firms to high growth markets in Asia, South America and Africa to realise the potential there’[1].

In November 2015, the Treasury announced the creation of a Prosperity Fund. Managed by the National Security Council, this cross-governmental initiative will designate £1.3bn over the next five years to promote economic development in developing and emerging markets.  In addition to its priorities of improving the business climate, competitiveness and operation of markets, the Prosperity Fund will aim to increase the ability of governments to tackle corruption.[2]  

The APPG hopes this Report may provide some insight and suggestions as to how government anti-corruption support should not only be maintained but improved. The APPG calls on the UK government to continue funding anti-corruption projects and enhance funding for law enforcement centred on prosecutions for bribery and corruption.

[1]  ‘2020 Export Drive’,  UK Trade and Investment (19 December 2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2020-export-drive/2020-export-drive

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/478834/ODA_strategy_final_web_0905.pdf

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Officers of the APPG on Anti-Corruption meet with Iraqi MPs

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On Tuesday 29 November 2016, Catherine McKinnell MP, Nigel Mills MP, Lord Rooker and Lord Watson of Invergowrie attended a meeting with MPs from Iraq, organised by the British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The Officers of the APPG on Anti-Corruption exchanged ideas on combating corruption with parliamentary colleagues from Iraq, including the Chair of the Iraqi Parliamentary Integrity Committee.  UK and Iraqi parliamentarians all emphasised the importance of transparency in public and corporate affairs. The APPG on Anti-Corruption looks forward to finding future ways to collaborate and share expertise and experience in the field of anti-corruption.

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Corporate liability for economic crime

The co-Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption (APPG on Anti-Corruption), Catherine McKinnell MP and Nigel Mills MP, have written to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, urging the Ministry of Justice and the government to fulfil the commitment to begin reform in the area of corporate liability for economic crime.

The APPG on Anti-Corruption welcomes the statement by the Minister for Security on 22 November 2016, at the sixth sitting of the Committee stage of the Criminal Finances Bill, that the government will publish a call for evidence on this matter.[1] But the APPG on Anti-Corruption calls for a firm date on when this will open.

In May 2016, the UK government committed to opening a consultation in summer 2016 on extending the scope of the criminal offence of a corporate ‘failing to prevent’ beyond bribery and tax evasion to other economic crimes.[2]  However, the Ministry of Justice is yet to release a date for when the process will begin: a consultation on this issue has been dropped once before.[3] The APPG on Anti-Corruption is concerned this does not happen again.

Extending the ‘failure to prevent’ offence as set out in s. 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, to all economic crime would significantly assist in the prosecution of such crimes; encourage companies to improve their corporate governance procedures and bolster pragmatic corporate regulation. It would also address the current potential imbalance in prosecution for economic crime between small and medium-sized enterprises and larger or multi-national companies due to the identification principle which makes it harder to capture senior level malfeasance in businesses with complex structures. The application of the model set out by s.7 of the Bribery Act 2010, to other economic crime, has previously been questioned due to a lack of prosecutions. This argument is no longer as persuasive given the conviction of Sweett Group PLC in February 2016.[4]

The APPG on Anti-Corruption reiterates the statement made by the UK government in the communique which accompanied the Anti-Corruption Summit in May this year. Namely identifying that the “private sector is at the forefront of the fight against corruption and we encourage them to take steps to avoid any corruption in commercial companies through the implementation of appropriate prevention procedures.”[5] The government has also committed to reviewing its progressing on reaching the goals set after the Anti-Corruption Summit.[6]

The APPG on Anti-Corruption calls for the government not to renege on the clear commitment to begin a process of broadening the scope of corporate liability for economic crime and announce the date on which this process will begin.

[1] https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-11-22/debates/d6cc991c-36ca-45f9-a178-7af8435052f0/CriminalFinancesBill(SixthSitting)#contribution-E7BA6952-BFBC-417B-99D3-3DA64ED6C77F

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-tackle-corporate-fraud

[3] The earlier consultation on extending corporate liability for economic crime, announced in the 2014 National Anti-Corruption Action Plan was dropped.

[4] https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2016/02/19/sweett-group-plc-sentenced-and-ordered-to-pay-2-3-million-after-bribery-act-conviction/

[5] Para. 12 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522791/FINAL_-_AC_Summit_Communique_-_May_2016.pdf

[6] Para. 33, ibid.

 

 

 

 

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APPG Anti-Corruption – recent news

The Criminal Finances Bill was introduced on 13 October 2016 and received its Second Reading on 25 October

 The Criminal Finances Bill intends to improve the ability of UK law enforcement agencies to tackle money laundering and corruption, recover the proceeds of crime, and counter terrorist financing. Among other things, the Bill includes provisions on Unexplained Wealth Orders; a new criminal offence for corporations which fail to prevent staff from facilitating tax evasion; strengthening investigatory powers in the areas of money laundering and fraud; improving information sharing around suspected money laundering; and powers to request further information in relation to Suspicious Activity Reports.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery

Review of the UK’s compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention – Phase Four

Week beginning 10 October 2016

A review team from the OECD Working Group on Bribery met with representatives from NGOs; the private sector and the APPG on Anti-Corruption coordinator.

The Bond Anti-Corruption Group submitted this letter to the review panel.

 

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Transparency and anti-corruption: a multi-jurisdictional approach – APPG Officers meet a delegation from The Republic of Panama

On 12 September 2016, Officers of the APPG on Anti-Corruption met with a Panamanian delegation including the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Panamanian Ambassador to London. Catherine McKinnell MP, Baroness Stern, Lord Rooker, Pauline Latham MP and Byron Davies MP attended as Officers of the APPG on Anti-Corruption.

panama-meeting-12092106http://www.anticorruptionappg.org/

The meeting provided an opportunity for face to face discussion about the multi-jurisdictional nature of transparency and anti-corruption efforts. No country can address the facilitation of corruption and tax evasion without consensus and cooperation from other governments. In addition, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasised that the report of the Panamanian Independent Committee on financial reform, instituted in response to the Panama Papers, will be made public.

Recognising that many companies exposed by the Panama Papers were incorporated in a British Overseas Territory, and the interaction with UK advisors by Mossack Fonseca, the APPG on Anti-Corruption voiced their support for the Panamanian government’s efforts to improve transparency in the Panamanian financial and legal systems. The Officers also highlighted the anticipated Criminal Finance Bill as a current opportunity for the UK government to strengthen its own anti-corruption efforts.

In light of the Criminal Finance Bill the APPG on Anti-Corruption continues to call for an end to financial secrecy in British Overseas Territories and calls for legislation covering corporate liability to extend beyond bribery alone and cover other economic crime.

 

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