On 20 October, the Saeima approved the amendments to the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials (PCIL), initiated by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) in the final reading. The amendments provide for additional restrictions to be imposed on public officials - members of local government councils - with regard to gaining additional income.
Members of local government councils will henceforth be prohibited from receiving remuneration in an association, foundation, religious organisation or commercial company from financial resources received by the organisation from the local government. This restriction will not apply in cases where funds have been awarded as a result of an open competition or for the performance of a delegated administrative task.
The amendments also stipulate that two years following the decision or participation in the decision-making process on the allocation of public funds to the association, foundation or religious organisation, these public officials will be prohibited from receiving remuneration from the respective association, foundation or religious organisation.
Mr Jēkabs Straume, Director of KNAB: “During the KNAB practice, we have detected several cases where members of local governments have made decisions on allocation of financial resources to associations and foundations, at the same time receiving remuneration from these organisations. KNAB proposed amendments to the law to prevent such situations from happening again. I am pleased with the changes in the law, as they will prevent possible squandering of municipal funds, strengthen the principles of good governance at municipal level and promote citizens' trust in members of their local governments.”
The amendments also provide for exceptional cases when members of local government councils will still be allowed to work in associations and foundations, earning income. The restrictions do not apply to associations and foundations established by municipalities in accordance with the Law on Municipalities for the implementation of common interests.
The draft law was elaborated with the aim to improve the regulatory framework and to prevent situations where municipal budget funds are used in bad faith and decisions are taken in the interests of certain persons. The amendments will entered into effect on 1 April 2023.