From December 13–17, 2021, Egypt hosted the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Corruption in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. During the conference, the participants discussed a wide range of issues, including the best methods to prevent the corruption of public officials and enhance cooperation among state parties in recovering assets and revenue lost due to acts of corruption.
Egypt signed the UN Convention against Corruption on December 9, 2003, and ratified the convention on February 25, 2005.
Offense of Bribery Under Egyptian Law
Regarding the corruption of public officials, the Egyptian Penal Code of 1937, as amended, imposes penalties for acts of active and passive bribery on both the primary and intermediary actors. The code criminalizes acts of bribery by public officials in chapter two, articles 103 to 111, of Book Two on “Felonies and Misdemeanors Harmful to the Public Interest and Their Penalties.”
Under these provisions, it is unlawful for public employees to request, or accept for themselves or others, a gratuity or promise for performing their professional duties or for refraining from performing them. It is likewise unlawful for public employees to request or accept any kind of reward or to perform or refrain from performing a professional duty because of any personal requests, recommendations, connections, or undue influence.
Specifically, these provisions apply to public officials when:
- Performing a duty that falls within the scope of their competence (art. 103).
- Performing or refraining from performing a duty that is wrongfully considered as falling within the scope of their duties (art. 103(bis)).
- Refraining from carrying out a duty falling within the scope of their work, or committing a breach of any of their duties (art. 104).
- Performing or abstaining from performing a duty that falls within the scope of their work or is wrongly thought to fall within their scope of work, or where they have pretended that the duty falls within their scope of work, or committing a breach of their duties (art. 104(bis)).
- Accepting a gift from a person in return for rendering a service that falls within the scope of their work (art. 105).
- Receiving a gift from a person in return for rendering a service that falls within the scope of their work as a result of a recommendation or mediation (art. 105(bis)).
While article 107 bans the act of receiving a bribe, article 109 punishes the act of offering a bribe. Article 107(a) sanctions the act of passive bribery, including the request for and solicitation of a bribe or the act of receiving or accepting a bribe. Article 107(b) prohibits the act of active bribery. In contrast, article 109(bis) bans the act of offering a bribe and punishes such an act with both imprisonment and a fine. The same article also outlaws an attempt to offer a bribe, even if the bribe is not accepted.
Furthermore, the Penal Code punishes those who act as intermediaries to acts of bribery. Article 108 provides that the briber, the bribe-taker, and the intermediary must be punished with the penalty prescribed for the deed. Article 108 exempts intermediaries from punishment if they notify the authorities of the crime.
In January 2018, the Parliament passed Law No. 5 of 2018 amending article 6 and article 111 of the Penal Code penalizing the act of bribery of a foreign public employee.
Article 106(bis)(b) provides that any foreign public employees or employees of a public international organization who ask for or accept a gift or promise of one, for themselves or others, for performing or abstaining from or breaching one of their international duties is committing bribery and punishable by imprisonment for life and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds (US$28 to $56). While article 103 of the Penal Code criminalizes requests for a bribe by domestic public employees, article 109 punishes the act of offering a bribe to domestic public officials.Paragraph 2 of article 111 defines the term “foreign public employee” as “any person who holds, by appointment or election, a legislative, executive, administrative, or judicial position in a foreign country, and any person performing a public function on behalf of a foreign country.” Article 111 also defines an “employee of an international organization” as “any international civil servant or any person acting on behalf of an international organization.”