Giving evidence to the House of Lords Bribery Act 2010 Committee on 30 October, Baltic Exchange Chief Executive Mark Jackson told the Committee that more practical guidance and specific case studies were needed to help smaller freight market players comply with the UK’s Bribery Act. The Committee, made up of 12 members of the House of Lords, is scheduled to report its findings at the end of March 2019.
“The guidance is set at almost at too high a level to be of practical use to the smaller, less sophisticated freight market players. They lack access to specialist legal advice in the day-to-day running of their businesses, and they find it hard to transpose the guidance into their daily actions. More prescriptive guidance, including case studies covering some of the complex or marginal breaches, would be useful to these smaller companies,” said Mark Jackson.
When asked by the Committee on the difference between “facilitation” payments and bribery, Mark Jackson explained that many facilitation payments demanded from shipping companies were in fact a form of ransom.
The Committee also heard how the Baltic Exchange will be including a section on bribery and corruption in its revised Code, designed to ensure that it can be adopted in different jurisdictions
Also giving evidence on behalf of the shipping industry were Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Program Director, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network and Tim Springett, Policy Director, Employment and Legal, UK Chamber of Shipping.
The Bribery Act 2010 came into force in July 2011. The Act has a far-reaching scope and means that shipping companies with a UK presence need to ensure that they implement firm-wide anti-corruption policies, which apply to the conduct of all their subsidiaries or agents, regardless of the different business culture in which those subsidiaries/agents operate.