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Overhaul of bribery and corruption laws

Legislation plans: Attorney-General Trevor Moniz

A major overhaul of Bermuda’s laws on bribery, corruption and fraud has been unveiled by Attorney-General Trevor Moniz.

Mr Moniz told the House of Assembly that new legislation would be introduced to bring the island’s legislative framework governing the crimes up to date.

He maintained that significant gaps remained in Bermuda’s legislation and administrative practices relating to offences.

“By enacting new legislation which is based on an international gold standard in the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, Bermuda is signalling to the rest of the world its serious intentions to meet and surpass the highest standards.

“As in the UK, Bermuda’s corruption offences date back to the 19th century. The UK and other jurisdictions have since moved on, and it is important that Bermuda do so as well.”

Mr Moniz revealed that the proposed Bribery Act would provide a “modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences”.

“Failure to report bribery when under an obligation to do so or interfering with such a duty are very serious offences attracting very stiff penalties,” he said.

“These offences are expected to be included as part of the Bermuda Bribery Act.

“No longer will it be acceptable behaviour to turn a blind eye when corruption is seen or suspected in the public service.

“In addition to updating the law of bribery, Government will also propose amendments to Bermuda’s anti-corruption framework, comprised of a range of other legislation.

“Preventive anti-corruption policies and practices will have to be in place, including enforceable codes of conduct for public officials in order to promote the highest standards of integrity, honesty and responsibility among public officials.”

Mr Moniz told MPs that the Bermuda Government’s proposed Fraud Act would abolish the deception offences inherited from the UK.

“In their place there would be a general offence of fraud together with four new specific offences — one of obtaining services dishonestly, two involving articles for use in fraud, and one of participating in fraudulent business.

“These specific offences would complement the general offence of fraud and would likely be charged as alterative counts in any information or indictment.”

To see Mr Moniz’s statements in full, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”