Conflict of interests
A conflict of interests is a conflict between an official’s public duties and personal interests where private interests may influence the performance of official duties (OECD, 2005, read more about the nature of this in the OECD Manual “Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service”). An official or his or her next of kin has a personal interest in the decision or act that he or she has to make or can influence.
In transactions with oneself, the addressee or the other party is the official him/herself or a related person.
The main legal acts regulating the field of conflicts of interest are the Anti-Corruption Act, the Civil Service Act and the Local Government Organisation Act. For some positions, special laws must be taken into account as well, for example with police officers (the Police and Border Guard Act), prosecutors (the Prosecutor’s Office Act), judges (the Courts Act), government members (the Government of the Republic Act), etc.
A conflict of interests itself is actually not a form of corruption but a situation that may lead to corruption. The measures to reduce or hedge conflicts of interests or their risk are conflict prevention with restrictions on activities and actions, self-removal obligation, declarations of interest, codes of ethics, independent committees, etc.
See also nepotism, revolving door effect.
To identify a conflict of interests, on can look at the official’s tasks and whether the official has any personal interests in the field. If there are clear personal interests and the official has to make a decision, etc. in that field then it is a factual conflict of interests. If there are personal interests but the official does not participate in the decision-making, etc. then it is an apparent conflict of interests. If it can be assumed that private interests may have an influence in the future then it is a potential conflict of interests.