The CGU Normative Instruction No. 01/2014 ("CGU?s Normative Instruction") was published in the Brazilian official gazette on June 2, 2014, as approved by the Minister of State and Head of the Brazilian Office of the Comptroller General ("CGU"). The CGU?s Normative Instruction is in line with the Guidance Note No. 2, published on May 19, 2014 ("CEP?s Guidance Note"), as approved by the Brazilian Public Ethics Committee ("CEP").
CEP works on the supervision and evaluation of conflicts of interest related to high-level federal government agents, as defined by the Federal Law No. 12,813, of May 16, 2013 ("Conflict of Interests Law"), and by the Code of Conduct of the High-Level Federal Government Agents, issued on August 21, 2000 ("Code of Conduct of the HLFGA"). Such agents include ministers and secretaries of the federal government, as well as officers and presidents of government agencies, government-owned companies, semi-public corporations, regulatory agencies, and public foundations financed by the Brazilian government, among other positions in the federal government.
Additionally, CGU has authority over the remaining federal public agents, including statutory public servants and public employees.
According to the Conflict of Interests Law and the Federal Law No. 10,683, of May 28, 2013 (Charter Law of the Presidency of the Republic), CEP and CGU are responsible for: (i) solving pending doubts; (ii) proposing administrative measures to avoid the repetition of irregularities; and (iii) issuing rules concerning the prevention of conflicts of interest within the sphere of the federal Executive Branch.
In light of this, CEP?s Guidance Note and CGU?s Normative Instruction both prohibit federal public agents to accept or to receive any invitation, event ticket, transportation ticket, transportation or accommodation offered in connection to watching or participating in events related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Such products and services were considered by CEP as presents, which are not allowed to be received by federal public agents, in accordance with the Conflicts of Interest Law and the Code of Conduct of the HLFGA.
On an exceptional basis, CEP?s Guidance Note permits the acceptance of invitations from state and municipal public bodies and entities. Moreover, CGU?s Normative Instruction permits the acceptance of invitations and tickets by federal public agents in the following situations:
- When such invitations and tickets were offered to the Brazilian government by FIFA, by any FIFA subsidiary in Brazil, by the Comitê Organizador Brasileiro Ltda. (Brazilian Organizing Committee - COL) or the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (Brazilian Soccer Confederation - CBF);
- Due to kinship or friendship, not connected to the position of the government agent, as long as the costs are paid by the person of the offeror;
- When such invitations and tickets were given in the context of promotions and raffles offered to the general public, or from a private consumer relationship, provided that the invitation or tickets are not connected to the position of the public agent;
- In case the agent is acting in its official capacity, representing a governmental body, provided that the representation was approved by the directive body of the applicable agency or entity; and
- When such invitations and tickets are distributed by government-owned companies in the context of its institutional activities, provided that no conflicts of interest arise.
Therefore, none of the cases mentioned above permits the offering of invitations or tickets by private companies, except on those situations in which the invitations or tickets are offered after a public promotion or raffle, or in a private consumer relationship, provided that the invitation or tickets are not offered in connection to the public agent?s position.
Additionally, it is important to highlight that the rules above are only applicable to the federal Executive Branch. Although the influence of the interpretation provided by federal rules is considerable, the legal assessment may change if presents or small gifts were to be given to state or municipal public agents. Therefore, such assessment should be done in a case by case basis.