Regrettably low awareness in the private sector is an obstacle to the fight against foreign bribery in the Czech Republic
The Czech government must urgently engage with the private sector to raise awareness, says a new OECD report. The awareness of the Czech foreign bribery offence remains regrettably low among companies, despite the recent adoption of a comprehensive corporate liability regime that holds Czech companies liable for this crime. Despite several requests, no Czech company was prepared to meet with the evaluation team that visited the country in October 2012.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery has just completed its report on the Czech Republic’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The Working Group will follow up on the country’s efforts to enforce its foreign bribery offence in the course of its regular monitoring. To date, the Czech Republic has not prosecuted a foreign bribery case, though two investigations are ongoing.
The Group made further recommendations to improve the Czech Republic’s fight against foreign bribery, including to:
- Guarantee greater independence of prosecutors, and clarify that the police and prosecutors may not drop cases based on factors such as the national economic interest, relations with a foreign state or the identity of the person involved in their foreign bribery investigations and prosecutions;
- Improve capacity for detection of foreign bribery, including through anti-money laundering and auditing mechanisms; and
- Proceed with its expressed intention to enact legislation to protect whistleblowers in the public and private sectors.
The report also highlights positive aspects of the Czech Republic’s efforts to fight foreign bribery, in particular the entry into force in 2012 of a comprehensive corporate liability regime. The report further welcomes the clear institutional structure put in place for the prosecution and investigation of foreign bribery, and notes that investigators and prosecutors appear well-armed to tackle these cases. The Working Group also welcomes the Czech Republic’s commitment to an efficient confiscation regime, as exemplified by the steep increase in confiscation of proceeds in domestic bribery cases.
The Working Group on Bribery – made up of the 34 OECD Member countries plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Russia and South Africa – adopted the Czech Republic’s report in its third phase of monitoring implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The Report, available at www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption, lists all of the recommendations of the Working Group to the Czech Republic on pages [50-54], and includes an overview of recent enforcement actions and specific legal, policy and institutional features of the Czech framework for fighting foreign bribery. As with other Working Group members, the Czech Republic will submit a written report to the Working Group within two years on steps it has taken to implement the new recommendations. This report will also be made publicly available.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Mary Crane-Charef, OECD Anti-Corruption Division Communications Coordinator, e-mail Mary.Crane-Charef@oecd.org; (33) 1 45 24 97 04.
For more information on OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit www.oecd.org/daf/nocorruption
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