Govt likely to take up foreign bribery Bill on Thursday
New Delhi: Government is on Thursday likely to consider changes in a proposed legislation aimed at criminalising bribery by foreign public officials which provides for imprisonment of up to seven years among others.
The Union Cabinet is expected to take up additional official amendments to the `The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011`, and pave the way for its re-introduction in Parliament and subsequent passage, sources said.
Foreign bribery is not covered under any domestic anti-corruption laws at present.
As per the proposed Bill, the government can attach, seize and confiscate property of offenders. Besides it has provision to extradite an accused official.
The Bill, which has provision to punish both bribe taker and giver, also empowers the government to enter into agreements with other countries or contracting states for enforcing this law and for exchange of investigative information.
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 25, 2011 and referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee in April the same year.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice gave its report on March 29 last year.
The legislation, if passed by Parliament, will be a stand alone law to deal with bribery by foreign public officials.
The Committee in its report recommended redefinition of `undue advantage`, which explains what an act of bribery may comprise, to make the law more effective.
The Parliamentary panel has also suggested making a
provision for a definite time frame for concluding investigation.
"The Bill prohibits accepting gratification by foreign public officials as also giving gratification to foreign public officials, while also proposing provisions for rendering assistance and cooperation among nations and making the offence punishable to a minimum of six months jail term to a maximum of seven years," said an official of Department of Personnel and Training.
The proposed legislation is a mandatory obligation under United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which was ratified by India on May 9, 2011.
The UNCAC, which acts as a universal legal instrument to deal with the menace of corruption globally, provides a mechanism for member country to deal with bribery among foreign public officials (FPO) and officials of public international organisations (OPIO).
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