EU Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from the European Commission. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Is there any international or European Union principle, rule or good practice that asset and interest declarations of public officials be systematically disclosed to the public (on certain websites) and systematically or upon external complaint verified by a relevant independent authority? What are the international or EU legal principles or good practices for sanctioning public officials for established conflicts of interest? What are the types of sanctions imposed in such cases?

NOTE

This answer is also available in French and Spanish.

CONTENT

1. International standards on conflict of interest and asset declaration
2. Oversight mechanisms
3. Disclosure policy
4. Sanctions for non-compliance and management of conflicts of interest
5. References

SUMMARY

Interest and asset declarations are considered a key instrument to both prevent conflicts of interest and uncover illicit enrichment. There is a broad consensus that these declarations have to be presented to and reviewed by an independent and well-resourced public body. Due to privacy and security issues, the question of public disclosure of such declarations is still debated, though a common position is that countries should make the disclosure of interest and asset declarations mandatory, excluding information that is deemed to violate privacy rights.

The effectiveness of an interest and asset declaration system will depend on a strong enforcement mechanism and on the application of proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for non-compliance with the rules. In the case of conflicts of interest, countries should adopt rules to ensure the adequate management of conflicts of interest, as well as penalties in the case of established conflicts of interest, such as resignation of the public official from office or retroactive cancellation of affected decisions

Authors

Maíra Martini, Transparency International, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

12/07/2013

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