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Anticorruption In Tunisia

1. What is the legal framework in Tunisia for bribery?

The legal framework controlling bribery at a national level includes:

  • The Penal Code is a set of laws that govern criminal behavior.

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) is a set of rules that governs how

  • The Code of Public Accountancy

  • The Code of Business Corporations

  • The Obligations and Contracts Code

  • Organic Law No. 2017-10, enacted on March 7, 2017, concerning corruption reporting and whistleblower protection.

  • On November 14, 2011, the Framework Decree-Law No. 2011-120 on the fight against corruption was issued.

  • The General Status of State Personnel in Local Public Authorities and Public Administrative Establishments Act, No. 83-112, was enacted on December 12, 1983.

  • The Decree No. 3158-2002 on the organization of public procurement (as well as the texts that changed it) was issued on December 17, 2002.

  • The declaration of assets and interests, the battle against illicit enrichment, and conflicts of interest in the public sector are all covered by Law No. 2018-46, which took effect on August 1, 2018.

  • Governmental Decree No. 2018-818, dated October 11, 2018, establishing a model for asset and interest declarations, as well as the minimum amount of assets, loans, and gifts that must be declared.

  • Banks and financial institutions are governed by Law No. 2016-48, enacted on July 11, 2016.

In addition to whistleblower protection, these texts primarily provide incentives to the structures in charge of combating bribery and corruption, establish the processes and criteria for awarding awards to whistleblowers who have been able to prevent corruption offenses, and encourage it.


2. What is the definition of a bribe?

Bribes are defined as the misuse of power, authority, or function for personal gain under anti-corruption laws. Corruption involves, among other things, misappropriation, mismanagement, or waste of public funds, abuse of authority, illicit enrichment, breach of trust, squandering of legal persons’ finances, and money laundering in both the public and private sectors.


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

Bribe offenses, according to article 2 of the Framework Decree-Law on the Fight Against Corruption, include:

Misappropriation, mismanagement, or waste of public funds; illicit enrichment; breach of trust; squandering of legal person’s finances; and money laundering are all examples of misuse of power, authority, or function for personal benefit.


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

The legal framework’s authority extends to all Tunisians and all acts of corruption perpetrated on Tunisian soil or with any relation to Tunisia.


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

The anti-corruption investigation has a broad reach. Any natural person or legal body, regardless of its level or function, who commits a corruption offence is criminally, civilly, and disciplinarily accountable, according to the definition of prosecution in article 2 of the framework decree on the fight against corruption.

Furthermore, according to article 32 of the aforementioned framework decree, proceedings against a legal person do not exclude the imposition of criminal punishment on its representatives or partners who have a controlling interest if personal liability is demonstrated.


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

Under Tunisian law, there is no mention of a parent firm being accountable for a subsidiary’s bribery. However, if a parent firm was involved in the bribery of a subsidiary in the way outlined above, it might be prosecuted separately.


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

Yes, facilitation payments, no matter how modest, are deemed bribery if they fit the conditions.

“Any person who is a public official or similar in accordance with the provisions of this law, who shall have approved, without right, directly or indirectly, either for themselves or for others, gifts, promises, gifts or benefits of in any way whatsoever to perform an act related to their function, even if it is fair, but not subject to counterparison, gifts, promises, gifts or benefits of in any way whatsoever to perform an act related to their function, even if it is fair, but not subject to counterparison


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

Article 33 of the draft organic law on the structure and financing of political parties prohibits a political party from accepting;

“…aid, donations, and donations from public or private legal persons, save for funding from the State budget…aid, gifts, gifts, and bequests from natural persons in excess of TND100,000 per donor.”

Furthermore, according to article 34 of the same draft law:

“Any monetary or in-kind incentives to citizens are prohibited by the political party.”


9. Is corporate hospitality subject to any legal restrictions?

According to the terms of the Arab Convention Against Corruption, which Tunisia ratified in 2016 via Presidential Decree No. 2016-134 on November 15, 2016, actions of bribery or corruption in the private sector that were done intentionally or deliberately are accused (Article 4).

However, except in specialized industries, there are no concrete general prohibitions on corporate hospitality. The internal laws of the National Order of Tunisian Lawyers, for example, specify that it is banned for any lawyer to use illegal tactics or mislead individuals in order to recruit new clients, despite the fact that they do not provide particular standards.


10. Do bribery offenses have any defenses?

Under Tunisian law, there are no clear legislative defenses to bribery offenses.


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

The national anti-corruption body established by Framework Decree Law No. 2011-120 on the fight against corruption on November 14, 2011 is the regulatory or enforcement body for bribery.

The national anti-corruption agency has legal personality, as well as administrative and budgetary independence.

The body is in charge of the following tasks in particular:

  • recommending anti-corruption policies and monitoring their implementation in partnership with stakeholders;

  • in consultation with the parties affected, giving general recommendations on the prevention of corruption and providing suitable tools for its detection;

  • exposing corruption in both the public and private sectors;

  • receiving complaints and denunciations, investigating and reporting corruption offenses to the appropriate authorities, including the courts;

  • giving anti-corruption opinions on draft legislative and regulatory texts;

  • facilitation of communication and contact between services and parties involved in the anti-corruption battle;

  • collecting data, information, and statistics on corruption in order to develop a database that may be used to carry out its duties;

  • creating public awareness about the seriousness of corruption through public awareness campaigns, conferences and meetings, the publication of journals and guides, and the organization of training sessions and the oversight of training programs; and

  • conducting or aiding in research and studies pertaining to the battle against corruption


12. What are the legal ramifications of being convicted of bribery?

The Framework Decree-Law on the Fight Against Corruption stipulates that the commission of a corruption crime exposes any natural or legal person, regardless of their level or function, to criminal, civil, and disciplinary culpability, without specifying the duration of the penalty.

In terms of the Penal Code, penalties vary by offense, often ranging from one to ten years in prison and a fine, with the most serious punishments being life imprisonment or the death penalty in the case of a judge who allows themselves to be corrupted, in favor or to the prejudice of the accused (Article 88).


13. Do you have any deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) or other similar settlement options?

There are no deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) or other settlement processes available under Tunisian law for bribery offenses.