June 16, 2022
Mike J. Masoud
Corruption has spread like wildfire over numerous countries around the world. One of the most fundamental causes underlying it is the public official’s exploitation of his position for illicit gain through business and non-commercial relationships based on conflict of interests that are not publicly acknowledged and, in most cases, are not authorized by the laws in place.
The nature of conflict of interests
A conflict of interest occurs when an employee influences a business decision to the detriment of his employer where he has an undisclosed interest in it. The employee’s interest can be financial or non-financial. It can also be economic or uneconomic. 1
When a person runs for public office, he must give up his private business in whatever way he thinks fit in order to avoid a conflict of interest. It would boost his neutrality and impartiality, as well as public confidence in his judgements. Most countries have rules that govern the problem of a public official’s conflict of interest and hold him accountable if it is not adequately disclosed.
Preventive measures 2
As a result, the foundation for defending the homeland and its capabilities against abuses of power by some is to devise preventative and deterrent measures to decrease corruption risks linked with conflict of interests to acceptable levels. Among the most significant preventive actions to avoid a conflict of interest are, but are not limited to:
1. Request employees to complete an annual disclosure statement stating their actual or potential conflicts of interest.
2. Provide employees with proper learning programs and conduct brainstorming sessions aiming to equip them with the knowledge and skills to spot potential conflicts of interest and avoid being victims of it.
Detective measures 3
1. Establishing a corruption prevention policy that usually enables employees, vendors, and other stakeholders to provide the company with tips and complaints.
2. Keeping a close eye on any favorable treatment given to specific vendors.
Every citizen has a national and moral duty to fight corruption before he or she becomes a public official or decision maker.
1. Exam Unit, “Fraud and Corruption,” in Certified Anti-Corruption Manager (CACM) Review Textbook, 2022 ed. (United States of America: The Exam Unit of The American Anti-Corruption Institute LLC., January 15, 2022) pp. 232 -236.