Conflict of interest

By dessquire, 4 August, 2015

I recently started doing some work as a verifier. As a provider in my own right is this a conflict of interest?  Being a registered provider I see as an advantage in relation to the verification function.

Conflict of Interest as defined by the United Nations Ethics committee

“An organizational conflict of interest arises where, because of other activities or relationships, an organisation is unable to render impartial services, the organisation's objectivity in performing mandated work is or might be impaired, or the organisation has an unfair competitive advantage”

“A personal conflict of interest is a situation where a person's private interests — such as outside professional relationships or personal financial assets — interfere or may be perceived to interfere with his/her performance of official duties”.

Corruption watch defines conflict of interest as

“Any financial or other private interest or undertaking that could directly or indirectly compromise the performance of the public servant’s duties or the reputation of a public servant’s department in its relationship with its stakeholders”

“A situation in which a public official has a private interest which influences, or appears to influence a public decision”

Examples of conflict of interest

  • Holding public office as well as private business interests and using your public position to benefit your private interests

  • Influencing government tender processes so that your family members and friends are awarded state contracts

  • Abusing your position within a government department to ensure your friends and family members are hired into the same department

  • Accepting bribes in order to disclose confidential information about the government department that you work for

  • Tendering for a municipal contract when you are an employee of the municipality.

In any work conducted by me relative to verifications I see no conflict of interest whatsoever. My personal business interest as a provider in no way can have or can be seen to have an impact on how I perform my duties as a verifier.

I would argue that my knowledge and the abilities gained from my business interests - which by the way I readily and willingly share with many providers I deal with - benefit these providers in many ways. One of the functions of a verifier is to develop and empower the providers and to offer help, guidance and assistance whenever required.



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