Anti-Corruption Act of 20 April 2023 No. 5 contains the following provisions:
Corpus delicti of crimes of corrupt conduct
The Act defines two categories of crimes of corrupt conduct.
The first category includes “special offences” such as:
- Abuse of office;
- Active bribery of public officials, their family members and other associates, and passive bribery of officials;
- Active and passive bribery of persons responsible for the election of the National Assembly members, appointment to and dismissal from public offices;
- Trading in influence in appointment to public offices.
The Act envisages that the above-mentioned crimes are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of $ 100,000.
Instigating, aiding, abetting, attempted commission of a crime and conspiring to commit a crime are punished in the same manner as the main crime.
The second category is “corrupt conduct” that includes:
1. Crimes prosecuted through a simplified procedure punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of $30,000, i.e.:
- Acts or omissions of an official that undermine public trust and inflict material and/or other damage to any person;
- Illegal use or concealment of public property by an official;
- Failure of an official to prevent a conflict between his/her personal interest and professional duties or undue influence of his/her interest on the fulfillment of his/her professional duties;
- Undue favouring of a person or a group of individuals by an official in exercise of his/her professional (official) duties (powers);
- Abuse of information that comes to knowledge of an official in the exercise of professional duties with the aim to get an advantage of any kind for himself/herself, his/her family members or other associates;
- Unlawful coercion to transfer property;
- Discrepancies between an official’s expenses and lawful income.
2. Crimes triable on indictment are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years and/or a fine of up to $100,000, in particular:
- Bribery of foreign public officials;
- Misappropriation of public resources for personal gain;
- Overestimation of the cost and/or volume of public procurement, kickbacks in public procurement;
- Misappropriation of private property disposed of by an official due to his/her professional (official) position etc.
If corrupt conduct is related to unlawful acquisition of property, imprisonment and/or a fine can be complemented by its confiscation to the State or by the payment of the equivalent of its value in case the property is located abroad.
The Act also provides for the establishment of an Office of a Special Prosecutor (hereinafter, the Office).
The Office will fulfill such functions as:
- Investigate crimes of corrupt conduct and impose liability for their commission also in cooperation with the Royal Saint Christopher and Nevis Police Force and foreign competent authorities;
- Collect, store and process whistleblowers’ reports and forward them to the Director of Public Prosecutions;
- Report to the Director of Public Prosecutions on the outcome of the activities undertaken by the Office on an annual basis, and others.
The Office will be headed by a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Governor-General following the joint recommendations of the Public Service Commission and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission for a five-year renewable term.
The following individuals will not be eligible to the post of Special Prosecutor:
- Public officials;
- Spouses (partners in de facto marriage relations in line with the common law provisions), including former ones, of public officials and former public officials;
- Close relatives of public officials and former public officials by birth or adoption, i.e. mother, child, sibling, aunt, uncle and nibling.
The employees of the Office will be appointed by the
The Special Prosecutor and all staff of the agency must inform the Governor-General about the occurrence of their personal interest that affects or can affect the faithful fulfillment of their duties.
Disclosure of information on corruption
Additionally, the Act contains provisions on disclosure of information on corruption offences.
The Act envisages, in particular, that the officials who have been offered illegal remuneration and the individuals who have been subject to extortion of illegal remuneration by officials must report the facts of their instigation to corruption to the Special Prosecutor. In case of failure to do so, these persons can be held criminally liable and punished by imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $30,000.
Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that an official has committed a corruption offence can report the case to the Special Prosecutor in writing, indicating the information about the offence, the official who has presumably committed the offence and other relevant data.
*The Act will come into force on a day to be fixed by the Chief Minister by Order published in the Gazette.