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Anticorruption In Qatar

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

Qatar (Qatar or the State) is a constitutional monarchy in the Middle East. His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has been the hereditary Emir, or Head of State, since 2013. The Royal Court and the Al Thani family have complete authority over the state’s important decisions. Qatar’s official religion is Islam. Although Islamic law (Sharia law) is a significant source of legislation in the country, it is primarily used in personal and family law, with little impact on commercial and international trade.

Qatar is a country that follows civil law. It has signed the Arab Convention Against Corruption and ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, however no law based on these international obligations has been enacted.

In Qatar, there is no separate bribery law. Bribery and corruption are illegal by a number of laws directed largely at Qatari public officials, the most important of which is Qatar Law No. 11/2004 On the Issuance of the Penal Code (Penal Code), which contains the key legislation governing and criminalizing bribery. This overview is based on the Penal Code’s anti-bribery provisions.

Furthermore, under Qatar’s Military Service Law No. 31/2006, a military service officer is prohibited from collecting gifts or gratuitous compensation, either directly or through an intermediary.

Qatar also has a financial and business center, known as the Qatar Financial Centre, with a commercial and regulatory environment that is separate and independent from the state’s current structures (QFC). Within the QFC, the laws of the Penal Code apply.

In accordance with Qatar’s Procurement Law No. 24/2015, if a contract with the government is awarded through a tender process, it is declared revoked in the following two cases:

if it is established that the contractual party engaged in fraud or other unethical behavior in the execution or acquisition of a contract; or

if it is demonstrated that the contacting party bribed or conspired with a state official to cause damage to the state entity that is a party to the contract, either directly or indirectly through a third party.

This summary’s article references all pertain to the Penal Code.


2. What is the definition of a bribe?

The Penal Code makes no explicit definition of bribery.

However, a bribe is money, another gift, promise, or other advantage provided or received, directly or indirectly, to induce or reward the incorrect execution of a person’s obligations, as determined by the bribery charges.


3. What are the most serious infractions under this legal system?

The Penal Code contains prohibitions relating to bribery of public officials and private-sector employees.

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 officer or person in abusing their power, whether actual or assumed, in order to obtain an unlawful benefit from a public department of authority (arts. 140 and 141).

In the function of a public official, requesting, consenting to receive, or accepting a bribe (art. 140).

(Bribery in the private sector) Requesting a bribe for one’s own or another’s advantage, without the knowledge or approval of the perpetrator’s employer, in exchange for performing or not executing any of the perpetrator’s tasks (art. 146).

Assisting or abetting the commission of a bribe with knowledge (arts. 38(3), 38(4), and 143).

Taking part in a bribery deal as an intermediary (art. 141).


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

Anti-bribery legislation in Qatar are not specifically extraterritorial. As a result, it solely applies to offenses committed within Qatar.


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

Bribery violations can be committed by private individuals, public officials (as defined in Art. 3 of the Penal Code), private sector employees, intermediaries, and accessories.


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

Under the anti-bribing regulations, there are no particular provisions addressing a parent company’s culpability for a subsidiary’s bribery.

However, in some cases, a parent firm may be held accountable for bribery committed by a subsidiary. Here are a few possibilities:

The subsidiary is founded in Qatar as a branch, and the principle parent may be held personally accountable for the subsidiary’s actions based on certain facts.

In the bribery offense, the parent company acts as an intermediary; or

The parent firm was involved in the bribe’s commission, either directly or indirectly.


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?

There are no explicit restrictions on charitable contributions in Qatar’s bribery laws.

However, charitable gifts may be subject to limits under fundraising and charity rules. To reduce the risk of terrorism financing and money laundering, fundraising and the founding of charities are heavily regulated in Qatar. Fundraising is only permitted in collaboration with locally recognized charity, and charities are strictly monitored and supervised

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


9. Is corporate hospitality subject to any legal restrictions?

The Penal Code has no specific provisions for corporate hospitality, thus any money or other benefit provided in that context would be judged in light of the rules outlined in this note.

Whether hospitality is a bribe will most likely be determined by whether it is a benefit under the Penal Code that was offered at least in part for the aim of influencing improper performance of a public officer’s or private sector employee’s assigned tasks.


10. Do bribery offenses have any defenses?

A briber or intermediary who self-reports a bribery offense before it is detected is exempt from liability under the Penal Code, even if the violation has already been committed (art. 141). However, it is unclear if the self-reporter would be protected from other corruption-related violations that could occur as a result of the same conduct under other statutes.

If a briber or intermediary self-reports, he or she may be released from culpability if the information leads to criminal charges (art. 144).


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

The State Audit Bureau (SAB) and Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority are the main bodies responsible for investigating and combating bribery and corruption in Qatar, in addition to the police and the Qatari Public Prosecution Office, both of which have broad responsibilities in criminal law (the QACTA).

Furthermore, all Qatari ministries and government departments are responsible for investigating bribery matters involving their organizations and referring suspected bribery cases to the SAB.