During an exchange of experience visit to Iceland in the scope of a European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 Bilateral Relations fund initiative, representatives of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) studied the experience of Iceland as a small country in the prevention of conflict of interest, reduction of nepotism, implementation of lobbying regulation and other anti-corruption issues.
Although the Latvian legal framework currently clearly defines the threshold where conflict of interest occurs, it does not prevent situations where public officials perform official duties in relation to persons with which they have close psychological ties. Furthermore, Latvia still sees cases of nepotism, which includes the granting of lucrative positions or properties to relatives for the purpose of consolidating power. This negative phenomenon is not regulated by any law or regulation in Latvia. Therefore, the aim of the visit was to learn about the expertise of Iceland in order to facilitate changes in the Latvian legal framework relating to prevention of conflict of interest and investigation of such situations, as well as prevention of alleged conflict of interest and nepotism.
During the visit between 4-8 April 2022, several meetings were held, where KNAB representatives met with experts from various Icelandic authorities, including from the Prime Minister’s Office, Parliament, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance, National Audit Body and the Icelandic Police, as well the Director of Public Prosecution and Ombudsman of Iceland.
The exchange of experience visit is part of the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 programme “International Police Cooperation and Combating Crime” Bilateral Relations fund initiatives. The purpose of the initiative is to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and EEA grant beneficiary countries.
KNAB has received EEA grant support for implementation of the “Support for the establishment of a whistle-blowing system in Latvia” project. The goal of the project is to promote public engagement, reporting corruption and other latent crimes, while simultaneously providing the public with a safe and convenient reporting channel, as well as improve the competence of KNAB in detecting corruptive criminal offences.