x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UK outlines implications of Bribery Act for UAE firms

UK embassies are educating businesses in the UAE about the implications of using bribes to win contracts, as outlined by the UK Bribery Act.

DUBAI // The British Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai held seminars this week educating expatriates about the implications of the UK Bribery Act for their businesses.

The Act, proposed in 2009 and approved in 2010, came into effect 10 months ago. It outlines harsh punishment for any organisation with ties to the UK that uses bribery to win contracts or advance their commercial interests.

"The UK Bribery Act has widespread implications for any foreign business that employs British citizens at a senior management level," said Joe Hepworth, a commercial manager at The Links Group. The firm provides consultations on company formations in the UAE and Qatar.

"Given the UAE's largely expatriate workforce, business leaders need to think seriously about putting in place professional codes of conduct to facilitate compliance with the act, while taking into account the realities of a local business culture that places great importance on corporate hospitality," Mr Hepworth said.

The embassy said educating citizens about the act was an important responsibility.

"We have to make sure that British businesses do not fall foul of this law - unintentionally, or otherwise," a spokesman said.

The seminars were presented by the British lawyer and peer David Gold and attended by industry professionals, who shared their expertise and insight into the implications of the act for companies operating in the Emirates.

"It is vital that UK companies operating overseas fully understand this law, how it affects them, and the way they do business," said Edward Hobart, the UK Consul General in Dubai.

amustafa@thenational.ae