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Bribery Act

Volume 594: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2015

8. How many prosecutions have been initiated by the Serious Fraud Office under the Bribery Act 2010. (908291)

The Serious Fraud Office has initiated prosecutions against three individuals under the Bribery Act 2010, with two having been convicted.

I spent more than 10 years arguing for a radical change in the law on bribery, which was passed as the 2010 Act, with all-party support, just before the last election. The OECD, which has criticised us in the past for not doing enough to implement its convention, thinks it is important that from time to time cases are brought before the courts. Will the Solicitor-General assure me that the SFO has adequate resources to investigate and prosecute cases of this kind?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, and I pay tribute to him, as he is retiring from this place, for his assiduous work on this and other issues over the years. He rightly says that it is important for the reputation of this country that cases are brought, under either the new Act or the old Act. We must not forget that we have had a number of key successes in non-Bribery Act cases that predate the passage of this legislation, most notably the prosecution of Smith & Ouzman Ltd for bribes paid to Kenyan officials in relation to the electoral processes. We have had a number of successes, which we should celebrate.

Does the Solicitor-General agree that part of the SFO’s success in recent years in these matters stems from the rigour that David Green, QC, has brought as its director, because of his experience in private practice? Is that perhaps a lesson for future appointments to other senior prosecuting bodies?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that, and I join him in thanking the director for the hard work he is putting in to ensure that the SFO performs well and improves its progress. On the previous question on resources, may I just say that the availability of blockbuster funding means that the SFO has the flexibility to prosecute cases as and when they arise and meet the threshold test?