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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of UK in Bolivia

30th June 2011

Bribery and corruption

Bribery damages international trade and business, undermines societies, and blights economic development. Like fraud, it damages free enterprise and adds costs to business. It is estimated that corruption adds up to 10% to the total cost of doing business globally, and up to 25% of the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries. In other words, on these averages, Bolivian taxpayers may be paying up to 25% more for public works and business transactions. The public, as well as business, loses.

Britain will take an important step to combat bribery – in the United Kingdom and globally – when on 1 July the new UK Bribery Act comes into force. It consolidates previous legislation and introduces two new offences of giving bribes or receiving bribes: an offence of bribery of foreign public official for business reasons, and an offence relating to those organisations that fail to prevent bribery committed on their behalf (for example, by agents).

My government believes that taking a firm stance on bribery will not just tackle the problem, but also provide an incentive to business development. This is especially the case in the developing world where bribery and corruption represent a real drag on business and social prosperity.

A British company that resorts to bribery will be liable for action in British courts. As will any foreign company that has business in the UK, and is known to engage in bribery anywhere in the world. The Bribery Act will not eradicate bribery on its own. But it sends out an important signal that corruption in business is unacceptable. The Bolivian government has made clear its commitment to dealing with corruption. We hope other countries will join us in making their laws stronger and tackling bribery head-on.

About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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