Declarations of interest

The declarations of interests constitute the main tool for the institutions to detect interests of their public servants susceptible to originate situations of conflicts of interest in any of their modalities: real, potential or apparent. They constitute the clearest example of legal instruments for conflict of interest prevention that facilitate the necessary transparency on the personal and patrimonial circumstances of the public servant.

To this end, the declarations formally document the expressions of interest to which each professional group is obliged. It is essential that they are complete, accurate and truthful. In case of omissions or falsehoods, involuntary or intentional, most countries are reasonably developed systems of declaration of interest define infractions that include any of the foregoing defects. Eleven of the twenty countries examined by the OECD in their 2011 study establish sanctions in all these cases, including criminal cases.

In certain cases, the simple statement may be sufficient to handle the problems that arise from a conflict of interest situation. This is the case of apparent conflicts, in which the declaration, by itself, has the ability to vanish the doubt, therefore, to eliminate the conflict, which was only apparent but could erode public confidence.