£11m fine for book publisher

Click to follow

The High Court has ordered Macmillan Publishers to pay more than £11m for unlawful conduct by its Education Division in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. The order concludes a 16-month inquiry into possible corruption by the Serious Fraud Office, with the full co-operation of the privately owned publishing company.

Potential wrongdoing at the unit first surfaced when the World Bank reported the attempted bribery of officials overseeing a tender for educational materials in southern Sudan (a contract Macmillan did not win). Macmillan instructed external lawyers to review of areas at risk of corruption, which threw the spotlight on the activities in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

The SFO concluded that public tenders by the relevant national governments "were susceptible to... corruption taking place". Macmillan's chief executive Annette Thomas expressed the firm's "deep regrets" and said lessons had been learnt.