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Egypt Law : Domestic Bribery

The Law punishes any questionable activity or a payment or promise of payment or benefit to a public official (i.e., public or government employees).

In the light of the Egyptian law, the foundation of an act of bribery requires the following three elements to be present: (i) The recipient must be a public official (subject to some exceptions set out below).

(ii) There must be a “gift,” a “benefit” or a “promise” that will constitute the material/physical element of the crime.

(iii) There must be requisite criminal intent (mens rea).

1.2 Definition of bribery

Articles 103 to 106 of the Law prohibit a public official from “requesting,” “accepting” or “taking for him/herself or another,” a “promise,” a “gift” or a “benefit,” whether material or non-material, for “performing” or “abstaining from performing” an inherent function of his or her position, even if he or she mistakenly believes such a function falls within the scope of his or her “official duties.” Furthermore, the Law provides that a public official who violates or abuses the duties of his or her position with the intent of being rewarded for his or her behaviour shall be subject to imprisonment.

In light of the foregoing, the Law addresses the “trading” or “peddling” a public official in his capacity as such. In this regard, the Law punishes the offeror of the bribe, the recipient and any intermediary, if there is any, (between the briber and the recipient) with the same punishment.

Article 107 states that “any benefit, of whatever value, obtained by the recipient of the bribe or by the person either designated by him for receipt of such (or knowing and agreeing to his or her appointment), shall be considered a promise or a gift.”

It thus appears that the benefit constituting the “bribe” may be the promise or payment of money (or any tangible benefit) received or requested by an official or the briber’s agreement to discharge a debt of the recipient of the bribe.

Furthermore, the Law does not distinguish between the benefit an official obtains for himself or herself and the benefit requested or accepted for another person. The crime of bribery is in the request itself and is not contingent upon the recipient, whoever he or she was.

The provisions of the Law are so broad that they encompass almost all forms of trading on a position or its duties (or an attempt to do so), regardless of what might be called the “timing” of the benefit. An official may be deemed a recipient of a bribe, even though he did not actually accept a payment, and bribery may exist even in the absence of an agreement for such between the official and the other party. As mentioned above, the Law considers the official’s mere request a complete crime, even if such a request was not accepted by the other party. This is so because an official who offers his position “for sale” is no less of a criminal than the one actually completing the bribery transaction.

According to the general principles of criminal intent, the crime of bribery is not deemed to have occurred unless the recipient of the bribe realizes, at the time of the request or acceptance of a promise, or the taking of a gift, that such is the reward for performance, or abstention therefrom, of a duty within the scope of his authority or that he claims or erroneously believes is part thereof.

It should be noted, as well, that it does not matter if the receipt of the benefit was before or after the Act. If an official accepts a gift from a person, believing that it was presented innocently, then the official has not committed bribery. By the same token, if he pretends acceptance of the offer in order to facilitate the offeror’s apprehension, the foundation for the crime of bribery is not met.

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