Anti-corruption advice from the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice has provided practical advice on anti-corruption compliance, how to create a fraud and corruption policy and how to avoid falling foul of the new law on facilitation payments.

It reflects best international practice and is designed for small, medium and large organisations.  We provide you with an overview of the guidance documents and links to them.

Saying no to bribery and corruption – a guide for New Zealand businesses

This outlines relevant domestic and foreign corruption laws, international anti-corruption agreements, including the UN Convention Against Corruption which New Zealand ratified on 1 December last year, and how to establish, implement and maintain anti-corruption procedures.

The section setting out a series of guiding principles for effective compliance systems will be of particular interest to New Zealand businesses operating overseas.

Facilitation payments and New Zealand’s anti-bribery laws

Facilitation payments are small payments made to a foreign public official to expedite the performance of a routine government action to which the payer is already entitled.  They are permitted under New Zealand law through a narrow exception to the foreign bribery offence in section 105C of the Crimes Act.

To come within the exemption, the payment must not create an undue material benefit to the payer or an undue material disadvantage to other persons.  It can only speed a process.  It cannot alter the outcome.

The note advises that best practice is to avoid facilitation payments as they will generally be illegal under the domestic law of the jurisdiction where the business is operating and will “almost always provide an undue material advantage or disadvantage”, thereby falling outside the New Zealand exception.

Legislation passed last year requires that businesses record and report any facilitation payment made.  Failure to do this may result in a fine of up to $50,000.

How to create a fraud and corruption policy

This is a six page guide to developing a robust anti-corruption framework and will be a useful resource to organisations wrestling with this issue in light of the new organised crime and anti-corruption regime legislated for last year.
Our thanks to Hugo Van Dyke for writing this Client Alert.  For further information please contact the lawyers featured.

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