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Anticorruption In Oman

1. What is the legal structure in Oman that governs bribery?

There is no separate bribery law in Oman. Bribery and corruption are handled by a number of different laws that overlap. The major regulations (arts. 207-212) controlling bribery are included in Oman Sultani Decree No. 7/2018 On the Issuance of the Oman Penal Code (the Oman Penal Code). Bribing offenses in Oman are limited to bribery of government officials.

The Sultan of Oman is both the head of state and the head of government in Oman, which is a constitutional monarchy. Although the Sultan is ultimately responsible for promulgating and ratifying legislation, the Omani legislature is the bicameral Council of Oman, which consists of an upper chamber, the Council of State (Majlis ad-Dawlah), and a lower body, the Consultative Council (Majlis ash-Shura). The basis for legislation is Islamic Sharia law.

The Oman Penal Code is referred to in every article referenced in this summary.


2. What is the definition of a bribe?

The Oman Penal Code makes no explicit definition of bribery.

A bribe is a gift, cash or other advantage offered or received, directly or indirectly, to promote or reward the improper execution of a public official’s relevant role or activity, as implied by the bribery charges.


3. What are the most serious violations of this legal framework?

Bribery is defined as the request, acceptance, offer, or making of any promise, gift (or other benefit) to a public official, whether directly or indirectly, in order to aid that public employee in abusing their power, whether actual or assumed, in order to obtain an unlawful benefit from a public department of authority (arts. 207, 208, 209).

Even if the bribe is declined, offering, proposing, or paying a bribe to a public employee is illegal (art. 211).

Even if there is no evidence of being offered or receiving an illegal advantage or benefit, a public official’s activity is regarded a criminal offense under the bribery rules if they are unreasonably influenced by a request, “suggestion,” or an intermediary to fail to execute their obligations (art. 210).

Taking part in a bribery deal as an intermediary (art. 212).


4. What is the legal framework’s jurisdictional scope?

Outside of Oman, the bribery offenses listed above do not apply.


5. Who can be held accountable for bribery? (government officials, private citizens, legal entities, and so on.)

Bribery offenses can be tried against private people, public personnel, and anybody who supports or abets a bribery offense.

It’s worth emphasizing that the term “public employee” is broadly construed to cover civil servants and state-owned businesses with more than 40% government ownership (art. 10).


6. Can a parent firm be held accountable for bribery committed by a subsidiary?

There are no particular rules addressing a parent company’s culpability for bribery by a subsidiary, while it is possible in circumstances when the subsidiary is the bribe offeror. The parent company may operate as an intermediary in the bribery scheme, or the parent firm may have participated directly or indirectly in the bribe’s commission.


7. Are bribes considered facilitation payments (small payments to expedite regular government action)?

Yes, indeed. Facilitation payments, regardless of quantity, are deemed bribery if they match the conditions.


8. Is there any restriction on political and charity contributions under the law?

The Oman Penal Code makes no explicit restrictions restricting political or charity contributions.

However, charitable gifts may be subject to limits under fundraising and charity rules. In Oman, fundraising and the formation of charities are heavily regulated, in part to prevent terrorism financing and money laundering. Fundraising is only permitted in collaboration with locally recognized charity, and charities are strictly monitored and supervised.

Political contributions are not permitted in Oman because it is a constitutional monarchy.


9. Is corporate hospitality subject to any legal restrictions?

The Oman Penal Code makes no specific regulations for corporate hospitality, thus any money or other benefit provided in that context would be judged in light of the laws outlined in this notice.


10. Do bribery offenses have any defenses?

A briber or intermediary who self-reports a bribery offence before it is detected is excused from the penalty, according to the Oman Penal Code (art. 212). However, it’s unclear if the self-reporter would be immune from prosecution for bribery, corruption, or other related offenses under other laws.

The self-report is considered a mitigating factor in sentencing if it is made after the bribery offence has been detected (art. 212).

Other general mitigating factors: Article 71 of the Oman Penal Code allows a court to impose a stay of an enforcement order of a fine or imprisonment for a term of less than three years if:

The condemned individual’s demeanor, their background or age, or the circumstances surrounding the offence lead to the belief that they would not commit another crime; and the convicted individual retains a genuine residency in Oman.


11. What are the main anti-bribery regulatory or enforcement bodies?

  • The State Financial and Administrative Monitoring Institution is tasked with overseeing the state’s financial and administrative

  • The Ministry of Justice is in charge of legal matters.

  • The Office of the Public Prosecutor