Section 5 of the PCA creates public and private offences of active and passive bribery by both individuals and companies. Persons are guilty of bribery if:
- they corruptly solicit, receive, or agree to receive, any gratification as an inducement or reward for any person doing (or not doing) anything; or
- they corruptly give, promise or offer any gratification as an inducement or reward for any person doing (or not doing) anything.
Section 6 creates agency bribery offences involving either the corrupt offer to, or acceptance of, gratification by an agent in relation to the performance of the principal’s affairs or for the purposes of misleading that principal. Employees may be considered agents, and their employers, principals, for the purposes of this section.
In addition to the above, specific provisions in the PCA (sections 11 and 12) prohibit bribery of domestic public officials. Section 11 addresses both active and passive bribery in relation to Members of Parliament, while section 12 creates offences in respect of any ‘member of a public body’. Section 10 creates an offence in relation to offering or accepting gratification in relation to Government tenders.
The term ‘gratification’ is broadly defined under the PCA to include money, gifts, loans, fees, rewards, commissions, valuable security, property, interest in property, employment contracts or services (section 2, PCA). Both the PCA and the PC cover a broad range of domestic public officials. The provisions of the PCA pertaining to public officials refer to such an official as a ‘member, officer or servant of a public body’. The definition of ‘public body’ under the PCA includes ‘any corporation, board, council, commissioners or other body which has power to act under and for the purposes of any written law relating to public health or to undertakings or public utility or otherwise to administer money levied or raised by rates or charges in pursuance of any written law’. The provisions of the Penal Code use the term ‘public servant’. This has been defined under the Penal Code to include judges and officers of a court of justice, arbitrators, Government officers and army officers. The PCA and Penal Code do not specifically target the bribery of foreign officials, although such bribery could fall under the ambit of the general provisions of the PCA (at sections 5 and 6).
The Penal Code also contains provisions that deal specifically with the bribery of domestic public officials (sections 161 to 165). Scenarios cited include:
- a public servant taking a gratification, other than legal remuneration, in respect of an official act;
- a person taking a gratification in order to influence a public servant by corrupt or illegal means;
- a person taking a gratification for exercising personal influence over a public servant;
- abetment by a public servant of the above offences; and
- a public servant obtaining anything of value, without consideration or with such consideration that the public servant knows to be inadequate, from a person concerned in any proceedings or business conducted by the public servant.
A Singapore citizen will be liable under section 37 of the PCA for corrupt behaviour, even if such behaviour took place outside Singapore. Similarly, the Penal Code provides that an act committed outside Singapore by a Singapore public servant (who is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident) purporting to act in the course of his or her employment that would constitute an offence within Singapore, will be deemed to have been committed in Singapore. Accordingly, if the Singapore public servant accepted a bribe overseas, he or she would be liable under Singapore laws.