I refer to your news item ‘Bribery Act lying dormant, SFO admits’. While it is correct that the SFO is currently investigating two cases under the Bribery Act, and has a number of other cases in the development stage, the suggestion that a lack of resources is the reason that these numbers are not greater is inaccurate.
As those familiar with the legislation will be aware, the act only came into force on 1 July 2011 and does not have retrospective effect. The fact is that, at present, the majority of cases the SFO has an interest in concern conduct that pre-dates the act.
Given that corrupt activity, by its very nature, will be hidden from view, and so may only come to light some time later, this is hardly surprising. Nevertheless, the SFO does now have active investigations into post-Bribery Act conduct and more can be expected in the months ahead.
The SFO has never refused to investigate due to a lack of resources. Where we are satisfied that it is right to take a case on for investigation, we will not hesitate to do so.
Matthew Wagstaff, Head of Bribery and Corruption division, Serious Fraud Office