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Anti-bribe law 'too weak'

LEGISLATION AIMED at stamping out corruption on overseas projects is too weak, new Institution of Structural Engineers president Bob McKittrick said this week.

A new law passed by Parliament last February makes bribery, even if committed abroad, a crime for UK citizens or companies.

But McKittrick says the law leaves the door open for corruption by exempting a 'small facilitation payment extorted by a foreign official in countries where this is normal practice'.

'What is small and what is normal practice?' said McKittrick. 'The British government is not being tough enough.' He said that the World Bank and Asian Development Bank were taking a much tougher line on the issue.

McKittrick said professional engineering bodies should work more closely together to combat the problem.

'Maybe we need to declare an amnesty and start afresh at the end of it. Maybe we need to brainstorm the whole issue, but I firmly believe that we need to start and we need to start now, ' McKittrick states in his inaugural presidential address.

'In many countries it is simply expected, for example, that if your invoice passes through the system, the wheels need to be greased. That type of situation may be only the tip of the iceberg, ' said McKittrick.

An ICE spokesman welcomed the call for Institutions to work together to root out corruption.

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