Bribery and Corruption - Reminder to exporters to stay on the right side of the law when doing business in other countries

  • Date Added: 5 Apr 2013 from BusinessNZ

  • New Zealand has a deservedly good reputation around the world as being one of the least corrupt nations in the world. This is something we should not take for granted and we need to keep working on it.

    ExportNZ wants to remind members about their obligations when dealing in overseas markets where they are more likely to face bribery and corruption than at home.  Exporters need to stay vigilant and have good policies in place about how to deal with corruption in overseas markets.

    In cases where someone from New Zealand bribes an official in another country, that person may be prosecuted in New Zealand. This is because these offences are subject to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Bribery of foreign public officials in such cases carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to seven years.

    In addition, some countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have laws that mean a business can be banned from their markets if they are found to be engaging in bribery and/or corruption in a third country.  It is in all our interests that the world becomes a less corrupt place, so let’s continue to do our bit to ensure we are leading the way with all those other nations that are trying to stamp out corruption.

    US and UK laws

    New Zealand businesses should be aware that some jurisdictions have more stringent requirements to New Zealand and that these requirements may have implications for New Zealand businesses. 

    In particular, companies should be aware of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1974 (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act 2010. The FCPA is wide-ranging in its application and a New Zealand business or businessman captured by the FCPA not only faces significant criminal penalties, but civil penalties as well. 

    The Bribery Act is similarly wide-ranging and does not require companies or individuals to be based in the UK or for offending to occur in the UK. Under the Act, a company commits an offence if any individual associated with the organisation bribes another person. Both the US and UK enforcement agencies are likely to pay particular attention to the compliance measures and programmes in terms of assessing the liability of the companies.

    There is some good information on combatting bribery and corruption at these sites: