Corruption law brought to Cabinet

 

Prison terms of up to 10 years and unlimited fines will be contained in proposed legislation to reform the laws on corruption and bribery.

The draft scheme of the Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill 2012 was brought to Cabinet by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter yesterday and approved by his colleagues.

The planned law will give new powers to Courts to remove public officials from office and exclude them from holding office for up to a decade.

“The Government is determined that corruption in any form will not be tolerated. Ireland must be a country and be seen as a country where business and public life can only be undertaken honestly and openly,” Mr Shatter said.

“Those engaged in business and politics have nothing to fear and everything to gain from the maintenance of proper ethical standards.”

The Bill will replace and update existing offences relating to giving or receiving bribes, while introducing new offences in relation to corrupt influence peddling.

The proposed legislation will replace seven overlapping corruption Acts stretching back to Victorian times.

Ministers, TDs or civil servants who are convicted of a corruption offence could be the subject of a court order to forfeit their office and be excluded from seeking such office for up to 10 years.

The Bill will contain a new offence of making payments knowingly or recklessly to a third party who intends to use them as bribes. It is also intended to enhance the ability of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to bring prosecutions by providing for the presumption of corruption.

Suspected bribes can be seized and forfeited under current legislation. These provisions will be strengthened by allowing courts to order the forfeiture of assets equal to the value of any bribe given or received.

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