Statutory Leniency for Bribe-Givers in Egypt: Revolutionary or Reprehensible?

Bribery and other forms of collusive corruption are notoriously difficult to detect. In many cases, the only people who even know that a crime has been committed are the perpetrators. To address the inherent difficulty of proving bribery, many countries use so-called leniency agreements, in which the government offers some form of sanction reduction or exemption to parties who voluntarily self-report and provide evidence against co-conspirators. Most of these leniency programs are designed and implemented by prosecutors’ offices (though they may be authorized by statute). Prosecutors exercise discretion in deciding whether and to what degree to offer sanction reductions to cooperating parties. Under the typical anticorruption leniency program, a self-reporting bribe-giver cannot claim, as a matter of law, an entitlement to any sort of sanction exemption.

Egypt is different. Unusually, and perhaps uniquely, Egypt’s antibribery law (Article 107bis of the Penal Code No. 58 of 1937) offers a full and absolute exemption from sanctions for any bribe-giver who self-reports and gives evidence against the culpable bribe-taker.

This approach is misguided, for several reasons: Continue reading