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Bribery and corruption can arise in many different situations affecting individuals, organisations, governments and ultimately communities.  Whilst the 'brown paper envelope' is the image generally associated with Bribery it can and does take many forms and does not necessarily always involve the exchange of money.  

Likewise, while Corruption often has a financial element, it can also encompass behaviours such as exerting influence, ‘turning a blind eye’, or seeking to promote a particular private interest or agenda.  

The generally accepted definition of bribery is:

“...where a person (A) offers or gives some benefit to another person (B) as an inducement for that person (B) or another person (C) to act dishonestly.

It may also occur where B requests or solicits a benefit from A as an inducement for B or another person (C) to act dishonestly.

In such cases, all those persons (A, B and C), as well as other persons who were complicit in the offence, may be guilty of bribery. ”[1].

Bribery does not always involve a financial reward, but can instead centre on behaviour designed to influence or exert pressure on a person in charge of a public or legal duty to perform that duty improperly.  It can happen across all levels of society.  

There is no minimal threshold for bribery – even a small payment or action can be a bribe.  Likewise, ‘facilitation payments’ (where small sums are paid to facilitate or expedite the performance of an activity by a public official) are regarded as bribery.   

Corruption is defined as:

The abuse of entrusted power by a person or organisation for private gain".  This can be financial or otherwise

Corruption is an umbrella term that includes bribery and is linked to other offences such as tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement and extortion or intimidation and can facilitate crimes such as money laundering, the financing of terrorism, environmental crimes and drugs or people trafficking[2].

It should be noted that, while ‘private gain’ is often associated with a financial reward, this is not necessarily always the case.  ‘Private gain’ encompasses any advantage that is of value to the person receiving it.

There are a number of signs or 'Red Flags' that could indicate that Bribery and Corruption may be taking place.

Bribery is an offence in itself and is also a form of corruption.  There are other offences that also fall under the umbrella of corruption, such as fraud or embezzlement.

The table below illustrates the relationship between bribery and corruption[3] and provides examples of some of these offences.

Categories of Corruption




The act of dishonestly persuading someone to act in one’s favour by a payment or other inducement. Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards or other advantages (taxes, services, donations, etc.). The use of bribes can lead to collusion (e.g. inspectors under-reporting offences in exchange for bribes) and/or extortion (e.g. bribes extracted against the threat of over-reporting)




To steal, misdirect or misappropriate funds or assets placed in one’s trust or under one’s control. From a legal point of view, embezzlement need not necessarily be or involve corruption.


Facilitation payment


A small payment, also called a “speed” or “grease” payment, made to secure or expedite the performance of a routine or necessary action to which the payer has legal or other entitlement.




The act of intentionally and dishonestly deceiving someone in order to gain an unfair or illegal advantage (financial, political or otherwise).




An arrangement between two or more parties designed to achieve an improper purpose, including influencing improperly the actions of another party.




The act of impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or the property of the party to influence improperly the actions of a party.


Patronage, clientelism and nepotism


Patronage at its core means the support given by a patron. In government, it refers to the practice of appointing people directly.



If Bribery or Corruption are suspected, they should be reported.  You can report your concerns in confidence via the Reporting Form link on this page.

You can also report your suspicions to the Isle of Man Constabulary or Crimestoppers.  If you are a public servant, you have a legal obligation to report bribery ‘to a Constable’. 

Where your organisation has a policy or pathway for reporting concerns, this should also be followed. 

The Department for Enterprise publishes a Guide to Employment Rights.  This provides a detailed overview of Isle of Man employment law and some other relevant legislation as at March 2022.

If you have any questions in relation to whistleblowing and your employment rights, the Manx Industrial Relations Service can also provide guidance and advice.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption activities are delivered by a number of Government Departments, Boards and Offices working in collaboration.