Following the article on John Armitt's views on the payment of commissions to secure work in other countries (NCE last week), I would like to point out the legal position and the ICE's Rules of Conduct regarding bribery and corruption.
Under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, UK- registered companies and UK nationals can be prosecuted in the UK for any act of bribery committed either here in the UK or overseas.
The maximum penalty for this offence is an unlimited fine and/ or seven years in prison.
Rule 1 of the ICE Rules of Professional Conduct makes very clear that any form of involvement in bribery and corruption, direct or indirect, will breach the ICE Rules of Conduct. A member found guilty of bribery (this would generally follow the member's conviction in a UK Court) could expect to be expelled from the ICE, or at the very least to be suspended from the roll.
It is not acceptable to make the excuse that others are doing it, or that it is the only way in which to do business.
Hugh Ferguson, deputy director general, Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA