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The Criminalisation of Bribery in Asia and the Pacific

image of The Criminalisation of Bribery in Asia and the Pacific

Criminalisation is a key component of all international anti-corruption instruments. For example, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention) and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) both require States Parties to enact specific criminal offences on bribery. The Asian Development Bank (ADB)/Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Corruption Initiative's Action Plan commits countries to ensure ‘the existence of legislation with dissuasive sanctions which effectively and actively combat the offence of bribery of public officials’.

However, criminalisation can be a challenging task, as experienced by many countries Party to the Anti-Bribery Convention. This report reviews the criminalisation of bribery offences in Asian countries under the UNCAC. Drawing on the experience of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention's monitoring mechanism, the review focuses on each member's implementation of UNCAC Articles 15, 16 and 26 (domestic and foreign bribery by natural and legal persons). The review also identifies trends and challenges across the Asia-Pacific region.

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Jurisdiction to prosecute bribery

A sufficiently broad jurisdictional base is important for prosecuting bribery offences effectively. UNCAC thus requires each State Party to provide jurisdiction over offences committed in its territory, on board vessels flying its flag, and on aircraft registered under it. A State Party must also prosecute an individual whom it refuses to extradite solely because the person is its national. Other jurisdictional bases are optional, such as offences committed by a State Party’s national (active nationality jurisdiction), offences committed against a State Party’s national (passive nationality jurisdiction), corruption-related money laundering, and offences committed against the State Party. By contrast, the OECD Convention only requires a Party to have territorial and national jurisdiction to prosecute foreign bribery.

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