Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Social Media Specialist
In March 2011, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publically criticized the Canadian government for insufficient enforcement of their Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA), legislation passed in 1999 to root out bribery and corruption. Two months later, Transparency International scolded Canada in their Corruption Perception Index for having “little or no enforcement" of their anti-bribery legislation.
As of last week, all of that has changed. On Aug. 15, 2013, the very first individual, Nazir Karigar, was convicted under the CFPOA by Judge Charles Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for conspiring to offer bribes to Indian government officials. As The Globe and Mail reported, “Judge Hackland’s decision, which makes it clear that there is no evidence that officials in India accepted any money, is the first time a Canadian judge has assessed evidence in a trial and ruled on the bribery law…” While the defendant held on to the premise that the money in his account was not for the officials in India, according to Mondaq.com, Hackland remained adamant that, “[Karigar] accepted that a conspiracy or agreement to bribe a foreign public official is a violation of the CFPOA: the CFPOA uses the word "agrees", which imports the concept of a conspiracy into the Act. He noted that in so doing, the CFPOA meets Canada's obligation under the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention) to make conspiracy to bribe a foreign public official an offence.” Read the full article describing the interpretation of the Act.
This victory in Canada brings great hope for the future enforcement of the CFPOA and will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference in Montreal, Sept. 8-11. The Globe and Mail’s chief Quebec correspondent, Sophie Cousineau, will lead an interactive panel discussion at the Conference that focuses on the current state of the CFPOA and its impact on fraud-fighters across the nation.
This topic and more will be highlighted next month in Canada. You can find the full agenda, sessions and keynote descriptions at ACFE.com/Canadian.