On 1 August 2017, the Cabinet approved the Offenses Related to the Conflict of Interest between Individual and Public Interest Bill (the "Bill"), as proposed by the Council of State. The Bill establishes principles of honesty, fairness, and public interest for public officers to perform their duty. The key points, among other things, under the Bill are as follows:
- Conflict of interest is defined to include setting policies, proposing or approving bills or subordinate laws to directly or indirectly assist one's own business, or initiating, proposing, or approving a government project dishonestly or for the actor's own benefit or for the benefit of another specific person.
- The beneficiary of an act in which there is a conflict of interest, who knows of or conspired to take part in the violation, shall be subject to half of the penalties prescribed for the offense. If the beneficiary is a juristic person, and does not have appropriate internal controls to prevent the commission of the offense, that juristic person shall be subject to the same level of penalty. The relevant director, manager, or responsible person of the juristic person that knows of or conspired to take part in the violation shall be subject to the same penalties.
- Public officers are prohibited from accepting gifts, souvenirs, money, property, or anything of value due to the performance of duties, except in certain situations, e.g. on customary or cultural occasions. This prohibition extends to include an officer's spouse and relatives.
- Certain public officers are prohibited from acting as directors, consultants, or employees of or receiving any special benefits from a private sector enterprise, the business of which pertains to their previous official duty, for two years after vacating public office.
- A draft government contract may be reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General when there is a justifiable reason to believe that the contract is made due to dishonesty or conflict of interest.
- A contract entered with a government agency could be deemed void if the arrangement or approval is made due to dishonesty or with a conflict of interest, and the other contracting party knew or should have known this.
The Bill will be proposed to the National Legislative Assembly for legislation. For more information or advice, please contact our team at Baker McKenzie.