Case Study 5:-
You are Director General in the Ministry of Public Works Department and have access to important policy decisions along with upcoming big announcements such as road construction projects before they are notified in the public. Your son is a land dealerand wants to know the complete details and he is insisting you about proposed mega road project which ministry is soon going to announce. Once it is announced, the land price in the vicinity would see a steep hike. You have access to maps and know the dimensions of land to be acquired. Your son wants to buy the land at present rates which is very cheap in and around the soon to be announced project. He is trying to convince you by saying that he would purchase land confidentially and there would be no problem in future for you. You are aware that the Minister has already shared this information with his children who are also into the land business. In fact, the minister has asked you to do the same so that your son also makes huge profits. He has tried to convince you by saying that his and your children are buying land legally and there is no harm in it.
In this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interests at play in this case study and explain what your responsibilities areas a public servant. (250 Words)
Disclosure of information that may lead to undue advantage to a particular group is against the professional code of conduct of executives. This situation involves conflict of interest that are:
(a) Public interest vs private gains: Bureaucrats are trustees of public interest. They have access to secret information based on the trust that they will not leak it selectively. Disclosing those information to my son would betray public trust for private gains.
(b) Professional secrecy vs cronyism: Breach of secrecy is a fraud on professional ethics. It will amount to disciplinary action that will have disastrous consequences on both my job and career of my son.
(c) Professional commitment vs hobnobism: Partnering minister in his unethical and corrupt conduct tantamount to being equally culpable in crime. Even if I don’t disclose the information to my son, silence makes me a partner in crime.
As a public servant my outmost responsibility is to uphold public trust. My appointments comes with a legal code of conduct and conventional code of ethics. These codes forbid me to disclose these information even if I am assured of safety. Also, it demands me to blow whistle in case of frauds. By acquiescing to minister and my son’s argument that the land would be purchased legally, I will act as a fool. In the era of vigilant media and civil society it would be just a matter of time to establish conclusively that information were leaked to the advantage of minister’s children and my son.
I won’t disclose these report to my son.Rather,I suggest him to follow his own business in normal way.As a father,I should also persuade him to follow genuine path by giving the examples of such wrongdoings in the past.I also set myself as his role model to follow and aligning his happiness in his father’s pride and honesty.For minister,I won’t obey his suggestion and recommend him to do not to disclose these confidentiality.But,if he has disclosed it then I shall report about him to higher authorities or CVCs.