Macmillan fined £11.3m following SFO probe

Macmillan fined £11.3m following SFO probe

Macmillan Publishers has been fined more than £11m for "unlawful conduct" related to its education wing in east and west Africa.

The publisher was under investigation following a report from the World Bank. A subsidiary of Macmillan Education paid bribes in an attempt to secure a textbook deal in southern Sudan. In May last year the World Bank announced it has banned Macmillan UK from being awarded any of its contracts for six years following the admission of bribery payments.

An investigation was launched into all public tender contracts won by Macmillan in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia between 2002 and 2009. The SFO said: "It was plain that the company may have received revenue that had been derived from unlawful conduct." The publisher was fined £11.26m and ordered to pay SFO costs of £27,000.

In a statement today [22nd July], the SFO noted that Macmillan had approached it with a view to cooperate. It said Macmillan had acted appropriately since learning of the allegations, "reviewing its internal anti-bribery and corruption policies and procedures, appointing external consultants to recommend and help implement an internal appropriate anti-bribery and corruption compliance regime".

Richard Alderman, the director of the Serious Fraud Office said: "Civil recovery allows us to deal with certain cases of corporate wrong-doing effectively.  It delivers value for money to the public by saving the cost of lengthy investigations and protracted legal proceedings and removes any property obtained as a result of the wrong-doing.  At the same time it forces the company to reform its practices for the future."

Annette Thomas, Macmillan chief executive, said she "deeply regretted" what happened. She said: "Fortunately, it has been established that these issues were confined to a limited part of our education business in east and west Africa. The company deeply regrets what has passed, but has learned from the experience and has emerged stronger as an organisation."