Bribery Act 'may affect charities'

Warning for charities working abroad

Sterl Greenhalgh, a partner at accounting firm Grant Thornton.
Sterl Greenhalgh, a partner at accounting firm Grant Thornton.

Bribery legislation that is about to become law could cause problems for charities that work abroad, a top fraud expert has warned.

The Bribery Act creates four new offences, including bribing a foreign official and failing to prevent a bribe being paid, both of which could affect charities, according to Sterl Greenhalgh, a partner at accounting firm Grant Thornton.

"Charities that work abroad in difficult circumstances are likely to find themselves in high-risk situations," he said.

"They might hire local agents as problem solvers, and they need to make sure they have adequate controls for them.

"They might have to negotiate with government officials, and they need to know what it is considered acceptable to offer them.

"This legislation is not intended to catch aid organisations. It is aimed primarily at major corporations.

"But it is important that charities are aware of its existence and ensure they have adequate procedures to assess their risk."

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