On August 4, 2011, the Australian Business Association of Cambodia, in conjunction with the Australian Embassy, held a seminar on anti-corruption laws in Cambodia and Australia for the local business community. The seminar was opened by the President of the Australian Business Association, Mr David Carter. A panel of experts including Ms Maggie Jackson from the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, Mr Matthew Rendall, from the law firm Sciaroni & Associates, and Mr Nuon Sothimun, Deputy Director of the Legal Department at the Cambodian Anti-Corruption Unit, provided their insights to the seminar’s audience.
One of the most important topics discussed during the seminar was the introduction in August 2011of the amendment to the Cambodian Anti-Corruption Law which made facilitation payments to officials illegal.
Mr Nuon said that it was important that companies reported all requests for illegal facilitation payments to the Anti-Corruption Unit, because asking for a facilitation payment was as illegal as paying one. “Even paying a one Riel facilitation fee is illegal” he said.
Mr Rendall said that because of extra-territorial laws on corruption in Australia, United States and Britain, people operating businesses in Cambodia could face prosecution under those laws.
Ms Jackson advised the audience that the Australian Government took foreign bribery very seriously. “The penalties for foreign bribery are severe, following a substantial increase that was legislated in 2010” she said.
Copies of the Australian Government’s Foreign Bribery Information and Awareness Pack are available from the Australian Attorney-General’s Department website (www.ag.gov.au/foreignbribery ).