Conflict of interest x Bias
The conflict of interest is in the Czech legislation regulated by several different laws or partial provisions in different laws with respect to the circle of obliged persons (most importantly act no. 159/2006 coll., on Conflict of Interest).
The basic principle is to act and decide impartially and to defend public interest. Public interest is a vague notion that needs to be interpreted individually in each particular case.
Bias is related to particular administrative proceedings (A particular person receiving a decision in a particular procedure is excluded from the process for the personal relationship to the case or the participants.(Bias §14 of act no. 500/2004 coll., Administrative code) “Any person directly involved in the exercise of the powers of the administrative authority (hereinafter „the official“) who can be reasonably expected to have an interest in the outcome of the procedure, in view of his relationship with the case, the parties or their representatives, for which his impartiality can be questioned is excluded from all the acts during the proceedings, the implementation of which could affect the outcome of the proceedings, the implementation of which could affect the outcome of the proceedings.“(Bias §77 of act no. 280/2009 coll., Tax code)
Personal interest x Public interest
Personal interest is such an interest that brings a personal benefit to a public actor or prevents him from reducing his or her benefit (eliminates the risk of loss). Personal interest brings property or other benefits.
Obligations of public official
- Do not give priority to personal interest over the interest resulting from public office
- Do not use the status, powers or information obtained in the office for personal (unjustified) benefit.
- Do not use a name or position for advertising purposes
- Prohibition of doing business and pursuing any other self-employed activity.
- Prohibition to be a statutory body or a member of the statutory body of the business entity.
- Prohibition to be in an employment relationship or other similar relationship.
- This does not apply to managing personal wealth or scientific, pedagogical, artistic and other activities.
- Conflict of interest is not a criminaloffence and it is not even an obstacle to decision-making
- Criminal offence is: Abuse of office as a public official; Breach of duty in administration of property of another person; Infringement of the competition rules; Arranging advantages in public procurement, public tender and public auction
Who is a public official?
- Politician: deputy, senator, minister, regional and municipal representative (the most stringent conditions, especially for cabinet member)
- „Special“ official: independent authorities, Chairman and Inspector of the Office for the Personal Data Protection, any member of the CNB Bank Board, President of the Czech republic, the president, vice-president and any member of the Supreme Audit Office, member of The Council for Radio and TV Broadcasting
- „Common“ official: member of the Police of the Czech Republic and the Czech Customs Administration, head of the organizational units of the state, the state contributory organisations and territorialself-governing units
The Register of Notices
- “Registr oznámení o činnostech, oznámení o majetku, oznámení o darech a závazcích”/ “The register of the notices of activities, the notices of assets and the notices of income, gifts and liabilities” (hereinafter only the “Register”) is a collection of documents supplied by public officials in compliance with Article 12, Section 4 featuring their first names and surnames, the bodies of which they are members, their official titles and other information specified by Articles 9 through 11 and Article 12, Section 2. The Register is administered by the relevant registration authority.’’ (13 of act no. 159/2006 coll., on Conflict of Interest)
Access to the register
- On written application, anyone is entitled to search in the Register free of charge and to use its content to make duplicates and excerpts.
– In the case of assets, functions, gifts and other income
- It’s not necessary to apply written request in case of public officials
Written request must contain:
- applicant’s name, birth identification number and permanent address
– If the applicant is interested in searching in the register in person or in electronic form
- It is not necessary to apply written request in case of public officials
Oral request:– In the case of personal interest
Searching in the register – access
The applicant shall be allocated a unique username and password by the Register’s administrator. (not in the of register of judges. It is impossible to look into the special registry kept by the Supreme Court).
It is now possible to search in the register by:
- Name of the official
- Name of legal person
- Office that he holds
- Period in which the notification was submitted
- From CZK 1,000 to CZK 50,000 in the case of an offense under paragraph 1 d) to f) or paragraph 2 b) to d), (no notification, false information)
- From CZK 5,000 to CZK 250,000 in the case of an offense under paragraph 1 a) to c), (incompatible office, unauthorized rewards, media)
- From CZK 25,000 to CZK 500,000 in the case of an offense under paragraph 2 and). (infringement of the ban on competition)
- Presenting evidently false information
- Failure to notify personal interest
- Failureto comply with the time-limit for making a sworn statement