August 27, 2013

Conflicts Of Interest: When Impartiality Is In Doubt

Conflicts of interest can be multiple and even direct, indirect, family and various kinds. Such conflicts arise when a person or organization holds interests in combination with one or more partners. In Mauritius, this phenomenon is cyclically surface.

"A conflict of interest arises in a situation where an individual has a personal interest that could influence or appear to influence the impartial and objective performance of his official duties. It includes any advantage for himself or for some of her choices. In addition, it also includes any financial or civil liability to which the money is submitted. "This is the definition of conflict of interest, according to Transparency International.
Rajen Bablee, director of Transparency Mauritius, argues that the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) defines the crime of conflict of interest by placing the types of actions and relationships that constitute an illegal act under the law. "However, Mauritius is an island nation where almost everyone knows each other. This can give rise to controversy. We see, for example, the definition of relationships in legislation seems limited.
Currently, a public officer commits an offense if the action involves a close as the husband or wife, brother, sister, brother or sister or ascendants or descendants parents. The general perception in relation to allegations that come to us, also evokes other relationships involving close friends, cousins ??or political agents, "he says.
Our interlocutor argues that it can not include all the knowledge of a person from relationships. "This often gives rise to controversy especially when it is clear that the person is bad faith and it uses a loophole to benefit, dishonestly, or those who they know. That is why at the level of Transparency Mauritius, we would like to work more on the changes in mentality and culture. This change can not be said enough, begins at home, "he says.
On ethics, Mr. Zahid Nazurally argues that conflicts of interest arise when a person has a duty to fulfill a public interest function but whose personal interests are in conflict with its mission. "There may be someone who receives donations or gifts from persons with whom he is in business relationships professionally. For example, we talk about conflicts of interest as a supplier invites business partners to a holiday. Thus, the decisions of these partners could be affected by this action provider. Conflicts of interest are more common in the most regulated professions.
That is to say those which are organized around a code of ethics. In these cases, the interests often complicate the fulfillment of its mission with neutrality or impartiality. However, it is the illegal taking of interest is considered a crime, "he says. What is the law on conflict of interest?
According to our interlocutor, under the PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACTS, conflict of interest under Article 13 is any potential conflict occurs when a public official has interests that would undermine its neutrality when it is officially called in s involve in its responsibilities. I Nazurally Zahid said that anyone who goes against this law could be, if found guilty, punished by a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years.
"In the case of a lawyer, there is a conflict of interest when there is assistance of several parties who` s lead attorney to present a different defense in its development, argumentation, the purpose of which he would have chosen if he had been given the benefit of a `single match. Especially in this situation, the code of ethics of lawyers `has and can often lead to disciplinary action. A lawyer may even run the risk of being removed from the official list of the bar, "he argues.

Ajay Daby, president of Human Rights Mauritius / Indian Ocean (TELL ME): "This issue would be part of our social landscape"

> The problem of conflict of interest is it common in Mauritius?

Absolutely. This is a problem that seems to have been part of our social landscape. It seems that corruption was seen as a natural way of doing things. Until recently, it seemed normal, for example, offer "enn ity" a servant of the government to move a file or move a driver's license. So that Mauritians are normal for a person required to work in the public interest the opportunity to take care of his personal interests or those of the family. It should also say "networking", to use a modern term, also plays in the scheme without it just as wrong.
To show that even today the notion of ethics seems alien to our culture, take the example of the famous lottery MTPA. There were several references in the drawing, the numbers were changed and then finally there is a draw. It does not seem offended many people, let alone the Minister of Tourism that there is "nothing wrong."

> Should we use a Commission of Reflection on the prejudices of conflicts of interest in Mauritius?

This is actually a track he must dig. This type of commission is in large democracies. It is worth noting that it was not until 2011 that France considered it important to establish such a body. This shows that the problem is far from solved in our newly developed country.
Like the ICAC, which is certainly not perfect, such a commission would foster a new culture in which ethical sense should prevail. But it is a long process and is part of a profound change in our society in recent decades, drift the primacy of individual interests.

> Is there a balance between transparency, trust and accountability in Mauritius?

Absolutely not. Our country is shaken every week for over two years now by a scandal. Each case in another hunting and shows us how our country is sick. And I'm not just talking about the environment.The recent scandal that has rocked the judiciary shows how Mauritians have lost confidence in the institutions. The Chief Justice, the Government and the Opposition say their trust in this institution but the public is asking questions about the turn that takes the survey. Scandals Whitedot, MITD, among others, have already helped to undermine confidence in our institutions. It also appears that many Mauritians have no sense of responsibility in the functions entrusted to them.

> Conflicts of interest and corruption: are they related?

A priori, conflicts of interest rarely stem from a deliberate or looking for an edge but still, to a large extent, involuntary or unconscious. But a conflict of interest may result in the risk of giving in bribes from people nearby.

> The law is it severe enough to Mauritius?

If you talk about conflict of interest, I do not think the Mauritian legislation makes an offense. In general, the laws are strict for all sorts of crimes but when a person commits an obstacle, she does not think about the consequences. Remorse comes after.

Recent cases
Several cases of conflicts of interest have recently been reported by the press. The latest concerns the alleged cases involving the Business Head Inspector Hector hose and man, Jean-Michel Lee Shim. The relationship between these two are scrutinized-end by investigators to determine whether the Chief Inspector hose, former police boss games have received favors Jean-Michel Lee Shim particularly in terms of payment of hotel reservation as well as the surgery of his daughter.
The investigation is currently ongoing to determine if there was indeed a conflict of interest in this case. Another case occurred in the supervision of students during examinations. For example, in October last year during exams Certificate of Primary Education (CPE), Bhageeyavati Adnath, Principal invigilator school Baichoo-Madhoo was sanctioned by the Mauritius Examination Syndicate (MES) for conflict of interest . He was criticized for not having informed the authorities that his little son was among the candidates.
Moreover, during the last year, a conflict of interest was reported by Utamdev Calchand, director of Falcon Biosciences Ltd.. The latter challenged the refusal of permits for the introduction of drugs on the Mauritian market by Pharmacy Board. The protest felt there was a conflict of interest because one of the protagonists in the handling of the case included a Country Manager for the two multinational pharmaceutical companies in Mauritius. Another member was in the same protest, employee of a large firm importing drugs while another was a firm importing pharmaceuticals.

Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 - Section 13
Under section 13 of the Prevention Of Corruption Act 2002, it is called a conflict of interest in the following situations:1 (a) a public body in which a public official is a member, director or employee, proposes to treat a corporation, partnership or any other company in which the public official or a relative or associate has a direct or indirect interest; and
(B) the official and / or his grip on or associated with more than 10% of total capital or equity participation in such a venture, partnership or other business,This official shall promptly disclose in writing to the public body, the nature of that interest.
(2) When a public official or a relative or associate has a personal interest in a decision that a public body must, that the public should not vote or participate in any proceedings of that public body relating to the decision .
(3) An employee who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) commits an offense and shall, on conviction, be punished with hard labor for a term not exceeding ten years.

Varieties and types of conflicts of interest

• Related party transactions
An officer or director of a company takes a financial decision that will affect his own financial interests as an individual or financial interests of a member of his family.

• Insider trading
When it comes to stock transactions made at the expense of shareholders by employees thereof.

• Nepotism and patronage
In awarding contracts or appointments to positions of responsibility.

• "Gifts" or bribes, kickbacksThe acceptance by an employee of adjudicative functions "gifts" with more than nominal value or jars of wine available to the person to make a decision or to exercise judgment.

• Contract with yourself
This occurs in a transaction in which the person making the decision to choose the provider itself of interest from suppliers. Such as when a person to tender awarded to a company which is perhaps himself, the manager, shareholder or employee.

• Conflict Mission
When two almost similar responsibilities are carried out simultaneously as they may conflict.

• Family Interests
When a close family member, a child is a company employee. And this one is precisely controlled by a family member.

Tuesday, July 16. The French press ignites this open between Marine Le Pen and the site Mediapart war. The site noted the correspondence with the European Parliament on suspicions related in particular to the use of his companion Louis Aliot as parliamentary assistant.
However, Marine Le Pen categorically denies the accusations of conflicts of interest that affect it. Another case in Europe remains the European Commission. On June 20, Brussels accused Eurotunnel to distort competition in the Channel. The European Commission has called for a reduction in tolls Channel Tunnel.
She put France and Britain with their responsibilities to correct the situation. Otherwise, it will be dragged into court in the EU. Last April in France, Jerome Cahuzac is found under the spotlight. A charge of conflict of interest was the One French newspapers where they claimed that Jerome Cahuzac has an account in Switzerland. They reported that the money from this account would come from bribes received by a former budget minister when he was consultant to the pharmaceutical industry.


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