International Anti-Corruption Day

8 December 2021

What you need to know about corruption, bribery and money laundering in the public sector

International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December 2021) aims to help prevent corruption in all forms. Working across many sectors, including public services, the day highlights the rights and responsibilities we all have to prevent corruption.

As part of our counter fraud work, we’re helping to raise awareness within the public sector. Our team investigates many different types of fraud on behalf of nine local authorities and other public bodies.

This can – in serious cases – include bribery, money laundering, theft and more. We want to use International Anti-Corruption Day to highlight and raise awareness of bribery and money laundering.

Bribery

Bribery is the act of offering, giving, receiving or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

Bribes are used to gain a personal, commercial, regulatory or contractual advantage. Or they could be used to secure or expedite actions. These are all illegal, even if the bribe doesn’t actually take place.

A bribe isn’t limited to money. It could be tickets to a football game, an expensive gift or even just paying for a meal. Both the person offering the bribe and the person receiving the bribe may have committed a criminal offence.

Organisations might be found guilty of an offence if it’s determined they had not taken adequate steps to prevent bribery from occurring. It’s therefore important you have a range of measures in place to detect and prevent bribery, for example a detailed policy and guidance for how to report it.

Money laundering

When you think about money laundering, you probably picture major criminal operations transferring money around.

But it can relate to any method used in an attempt to prevent the detection of criminal property.

Money laundering involves the movement of money or assets gained criminally in order to conceal, disguise, convert or transfer it. It is important that public sector organisations are not used by criminals to launder money illegally obtained.

Failure to report money laundering (whether confirmed or just suspected) is also a criminal offence. Organisations can face consequences if it’s determined they had not taken adequate steps to prevent money laundering from occurring. For instance, many workplaces appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).

Look out for:

  • Large transactions paid in cash
  • Reluctance to provide information relating to finances
  • Irregular money transfers and transactions
  • Transactions paid by third parties
  • Repeated transfers or transactions just under £10k
Reporting suspected corruption

We all have a responsibility to help detect, prevent and report instances of bribery and money laundering.

To report suspected corruption at your organisation, contact your fraud team, whistleblowing contact, or the MLRO if you have one.

Veritau works on behalf of City of York Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Ryedale District Council, Hambleton District Council, Selby District Council, Richmondshire District Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, and Scarborough Borough Council. You can report fraud on 0800 9179 247.

For further information about Veritau’s counter fraud and whistleblowing services for the public sector, visit our services pages or contact Jonathan at [email protected]