Ethics and anti-corruption

Private sector appointments

When and how may former government employees take up appointments in the private sector and vice versa?

There is no mandatory waiting period for former government employees wanting to enter the private sector.

However, certain government employees have a duty to inform the Board of Quarantine, which is tasked with deciding whether the employee would have to undergo a waiting period before entering into the private sector or receive a temporary ban on their involvement in specific cases.

DAR section 2-5 prescribes that if the contractor’s personnel have been employed by the Ministry of Defence or in the defence sector within the past two years, or are retired, they are prohibited from being involved in the contact between the contractor and the Norwegian defence. The contractor shall inform the procuring authority if they have hired or otherwise used such personnel (see questions 28 and 36 on the use of the ethical statement).

Private sector employees face no general restrictions on appointment to positions in the public sector.

Addressing corruption

How is domestic and foreign corruption addressed and what requirements are placed on contractors?

Corruption within Norway is punishable by law and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison (see the Norwegian Penal Code sections 387 and 388).

DAR section 3-2 dictates that in any procurement exceeding the current national threshold value at the time of the publication of the request for tender, the procuring authority must contractually require the contractor to warrant that measures or systems have been effected in order to prevent corruption or the abuse of influence. Such measures or systems may entail internal controls or ethical guidelines.

For procurements exceeding the aforementioned threshold value, DAR section 4-1 requires that the procuring authority issue to the contractor or attach to any request for tender the Ethical Statement for Suppliers to the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence with underlying agencies (DAR appendix 5).

The statement obliges the contractor to adhere to the ethical guidelines and not:

to offer any gift, benefit or advantage to any employee or anyone else who is carrying out work for the MoD or underlying agencies, if the gift, benefit or advantage may be liable to affect their service duties. This rule applies regardless of whether the gift, benefit or advantage is offered directly, or through an intermediary.

Also, see question 36.

Failure to comply with these requirements may lead to rejection of the contractor’s current and future offers to the Ministry of Defence or its underlying agencies.

Lobbyists

What are the registration requirements for lobbyists or commercial agents?

Lobbyist or commercial agents are not subject to any general registration requirements, though commercial agents who directly engage or provide assistance in the export of certain defence and security articles require an export licence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

DAR section 7-4, paragraph 2 dictates that the procuring authority shall provide contractors, at the request for tender, with the guidelines on prudence, non-disclosure and conflict of interest (DAR appendix 3):

The name of any lobbyist acting on behalf of the supplier must be reported to the Defence sector. If a supplier fails to act with openness and strict adherence to good business practices and high ethical standards, this may undermine trust in the relationship between the supplier and the Defence sector, and potentially also the rating of the supplier’s bid in the final decision process.

Limitations on agents

Are there limitations on the use of agents or representatives that earn a commission on the transaction?

As a main rule, Norwegian law does not contain any limitations on the use of agents or representatives that earn a commission on the transaction between the contractor and the procuring authority.

If the contract in question is between the procuring authority and an agent, the procuring authority may require disclosure of the commission or agreement between the agent and the contractor (see DAR section 17-3, paragraph 7).

If the contract falls under EEA article 123, the procuring authority may not enter into a contract with an agent (see DAR section 36-3).