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historic bribery case lands court clerk behind bars

18 November 2011

Munir Yakub Patel, an administrative clerk, made legal history today after being handed a three-year prison term for bribery and ordered to serve six years concurrently for misconduct in a public office.

Patel pled guilty on October 14 this year to requesting and receiving a bribe intending to improperly perform his functions, contrary to Section 2 of the Bribery Act. Patel was charged in relation to his employment at Redbridge Magistrates Court and was the first person charged since the Act came into force.

The imposition of a prison sentence for a relatively minor instance of bribery shows very clearly that the Act will not just be used against big corporates and sends a powerful message to individuals and smaller businesses. If businesses have not yet put in place suitable procedures to ensure compliance with the Act then this case should serve as a reminder as to why they need to so. The threat of unlimited corporate fines and prison for employees is very real.

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