OECD Press Release on Ireland Phase 2Bis Report
Ireland should improve its anticorruption laws, including on corporate liability, says OECD Group
The 38 country OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed a second review of Ireland’s enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, after a first report in 2007 found that Ireland had not fully met its Phase 2 monitoring obligations, with the result that the Working Group was not able to adequately assess Ireland’s implementation of the Convention.
In this Phase 2bis report, the main recommendations of the Working Group are that Ireland should:
Urgently expand corporate liability for acts of foreign bribery. Currently, the prosecution and conviction of companies for corrupt activities appears unlikely due to the very high barriers required to establish corporate criminal liability;
Amend its legislation on foreign bribery, which currently exists in two different laws, in order to remove inconsistencies between the two foreign bribery offences which could create obstacles to the effective prosecution of the offence. Ireland should also act at the first opportunity to consolidate the corruption offences into a single piece of legislation.
The Working Group also highlighted improvements in Ireland’s fight against foreign bribery, including significant efforts by Ireland to raise awareness of the foreign bribery offence within the Irish public and private sector. A welcome development is the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2008, which proposes to make possible the prosecution of Irish nationals for acts of bribery committed entirely abroad, and to provide for the protection of whistleblowers.
The Phase 2bis report, available here, with the complete text of the recommendations at pages 28-30, also includes an overview of recent actions by Ireland to combat foreign bribery. Pursuant to the Working Group’s usual monitoring procedures, Ireland will make a written follow-up report on the implementation of the Group’s Phase 2 and Phase 2bis recommendations during the Working Group’s meeting in October 2009.