Ethics Helpline

(248) 422 5517

What is the Ethics Act?

The Ethics Act established a code of conduct and ethics to guide public officials and public employees and help them avoid conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities. The Ethics Act tells public servants what is expected of them and gives official approval to their conduct if it complies with the standards of the Act.

When should I report a violation or suspected violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethics?
You should report a violation of the Code as soon as you are aware of it.

Can I remain anonymous?
No. The law requires that you lodge your complaint in writing.  

What if I am uncertain if an incident violates the Code?
You should ask your manager, supervisor, Human Resources Department or you can contact the Public Officers’ Ethics Commission.

Where do I report?
You have several options for reporting. You can report directly to your manager, supervisor or Human Resources Department at your location. If you do not feel comfortable reporting to one of these individuals, you may contact the Ethics Commission.

How does POEC investigate reports ?
POEC will start an appropriate investigation using internal and/or external resources. The information in your report will be shared with investigation team members that need to be informed to conduct an appropriate investigation. All investigation team members will take steps to ensure the information is kept confidential. 

I have seen some conduct at the office that I think is illegal but it is not addressed in the Code. What should I do ?
If you suspect illegal behaviour, you should report it or talk with your supervisor or manager about it. No Code could possibly address every situation. You are responsible for understanding the laws applicable to your job and abiding by the policies in place.

I have been offered a free ticket by one of our vendors. Can I accept it?
No. You cannot accept gifts, loans or other favours from anyone doing business with your organisation or who wishes to do business with your organisation.

I have been asked to serve as a consultant for one of our clients during off hours. Can I do this?  
Serving as a consultant for another company that does business with your organisation can create a conflict of interest. Consequently, you must receive approval from your organisation and the head of the Public Service prior to agreeing to serve as a consultant. Raise the issue with your supervisor, who will then take the issue to the appropriate people for consideration.

I was at a supplier yesterday and she told me that she paid off a government official to avoid customs and duties on the parts they supply to us. I know this saves my organisation money, but is it ok?
No.  Your organisation will only do business with people who conduct business ethically and legally. All suppliers and vendors must comply with the standards in the Code and the law. Paying off government officials is bribery and violates the law. You should report this conduct immediately. 

Under which law is a public officer required to make the Declaration of Income Assets and Liabilities?
Section 26 at Part IV of the Public Officers’ Ethics Act 2008, which deals with Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities, currently covers:

  • Constitutional appointees and public officers appointed by the President;  section 26 (c)
  • Chairman, directors, members of boards, authorities and commissions; section 26 (d)
  • Such other categories of officers as may be specified by regulations. Section 26 (e)

Section 3 of the Public Officers’ Ethics Regulations 2008 reads:  “Pursuant to section 26(e) of the Act, all public officers holding posts ranked at the equivalent of Director (SP54-59 in the public sector salary scale) and above, by whichever name their positions are known in their relevant organisations, shall be public officers for the purposes of making declarations of income, assets and liabilities under the Act:”  

I do not have much, do I really have to comply with POEC’s request that I complete and submit the declaration?
Yes, it is a legal obligation for all prescribed categories or descriptions of persons to comply with this requirement, as failing to do so without reasonable cause, is an offence punishable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding SR100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

I understand information on cases of non-compliance may be shared beyond the defaulting party and the Commission, can this practice be considered an ethical one? 
While POEC will as far as possible deal directly with the public officer as regards his/her obligations under the Act and Regulations, it is normal that employing organisations are eventually advised of its employees’ cases of non-compliance with the declaration requirement of the Act. Organisations can then use their discretion on how to deal with this breach of section 18 of the General Code of Conduct and Ethics for Public Officers. Having the need to promptly declare their income, assets and liabilities reflected in the Employees Condition of Employment is not a far-fetched idea, which POEC would support.

Can I complete the form, sign it and submit through e-mail, the post or through someone on my behalf?
Since the form at page 6 has to be signed in the presence of the Witness/Receiving Officer at the POEC’s Office and the law requires that the declaration be sealed in the presence of the person making the declaration, you cannot submit through e-mail, the post or through someone on your behalf.

Are the information being requested in the form to be as at the time of filling it or at any other time?
The requested information are always to be as at the appointment or promotion date, or 31st December of the respective years specified in the rectangular box at the top of page 1 of the form.

How does POEC obtain staff movement information necessary for the enforcement of the Act?
Section 4 of the Public Officers’ Ethics Regulations,2008 (S I 79 of 2008) states:

 “Any organisation prescribed by regulations made under the Act, shall provide the Commission with a list of its public officers at the commencement  of the Act and thereafter promptly inform the Commission each time a person leaves the public service or becomes a public officer to whom the Act applies.”

It is obvious from the above that public sector organisations are responsible to promptly advise POEC of relevant staff movements so that the various requirements of the Act and Regulations may be applied to qualifying public officers.

About the POEC

To administer and enforce the Public Officers’ Ethics Act which comprises of the code of conduct and ethics for public officers and declarations of income, assets and liabilities for designated public officers.