Analysis

EU procurement laws

EU Procurement Directives allow for companies to be debarred when they are convicted of corruption.  Corruption Watch considers the issues in its briefing on debarment as a corporate sanction – the issues. The EU Procurement Directive has become a major issue in enforcement circles. The US Department of Justice clearly stated in its sentencing guidelines on BAE that the collateral damage caused by the Directives was a factor they had considered when making their settlement with the company. There has been strong private sector lobbying in the UK for the government to find ways around the Directive. Corruption Watch believes that the Directives have a vital role to play in fighting corruption but that they need urgent clarification and proper implementation.

Corruption Watch is particularly concerned about the recent corporate prosecution guidelines issued by the SFO and other prosecutorial bodies which cite the impact that the EU Directives may have on a company convicted of corruption as a public interest factor against prosecuting companies. These guidelines are potentially unlawful on the basis that they are an attempt to evade the EU Directives. Corruption Watch is calling for the government to implement the Directives in a fair and effective manner by:

+  introducing time limits as a way to ensure that the Directives provide a proportionate sanction

+ creating a proper national register of convicted companies

+ addressing the loopholes in the Directives through clear guidance and amendments to the Public Contracts Regulations which implement the Directives

+ ensure that the new bribery bill triggers the EU Directive, to ensure that UK companies are not immune from EU procurement law

+ remove the EU Directive as a factor against prosecution from the Corporate Prosecution Guidelines.

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