"No science is immune to the infection
of politics and the corruption of power."

Jacob Bronowski
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Conflict of Interest

What is this?

Conflict of interest is discrepancy between an official’s duties and personal interests where the personal interests may influence the performance of duties (OECD, 2005, more details about the essence of the matter can be found in the OECD manual Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service). An official or a person close to an official has personal interest in a decision or act that they must perform themselves or that they can influence.

In self-dealing, the addressee or other party is the official him or herself, or a person connected to him or herself.

The main legal instruments governing the issue of conflict of interest are the Anti-Corruption Act, Civil Service Act, and Local Government Organisation Act. For some positions, also special laws must be considered, e.g., police officers (Police and Border Guard Act), prosecutors (Prosecutor’s Office Act), judges (Courts Act), government members (Government of the Republic Act), etc.

Conflict of interest in itself is actually not a form of corruption, but a situation that can lead to corruption. The ways to reduce or mitigate conflict of interest or its risk include conflict avoidance through activity and procedural restrictions, self-removal obligation, disclosure of interests, codes of ethics, independent committees, etc.
Also see nepotism, revolving door effect.

Here is an example:

A son is supervising his mother’s work at a ministry.

The head of the construction department of a ministry is exercising supervision over a company that is run by his or her mother and is working under the ministry’s administration.

The ministry’s chancellor has subscribed the ministry for a newspaper that is published by a company in which the chancellor has a share.

A local government official whose brother is an active NGO member allocates project funds to the NGO connected to his or her brother.

A local government member whose spouse is head of the local school allocates investments to the school connected to his or her spouse.


Anti-Corruption Act § 19
Punishment: a fine up to 200 fine units

Penal Code §300-1 (on a large-scale basis = current minimum wage rate X 100)
Punishment: a fine or imprisonment