Q: I work in a government organization as an officer. We deal with a lot of tenders. Everyday lots of contractors visit us regarding projects. These days we are working on a new tender and a contractor (let’s call him X), who frequently visits us, informed me that his company’s country head is in town and wants to meet us. I asked him to come to our office and meet our team.
X came along with the country head and we discussed technical matters. At the end of our meeting, the country head gave us a gift bag and told us that this is a souvenir from his side for us. We were 3 team members but he brought souvenirs for only the two of the team members. He didn’t give anything to the third person.
Was this ‘souvenir’ a bribe to us? Because the meeting was regarding a tender, but we are not giving them any favours. We are going through the whole tender process as transparently as possible. I am worried whether this souvenir is a bribe or not, because I realised it later on, after he left, that it might be a bribe. We still won’t be giving them any favours on the tender project. If it is termed as a bribe, what should I do now because I have already accepted the gift.
Note: The country head gave us the products that his own company makes, hence called it a souvenir.
A: Precaution requires that you either return the souvenir, or gift it in charity if it is not possible to return it.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)