Lately, conflicts of interest have taken over the political contingency. First, there were the Bancard and Dominga cases, which complicated former President Sebastián Piñera, and then the Probity Law, which demanded the declaration of assets and interests of public officials to keep corruption away from the state and the Legislative Branch, so that there would no longer be “misunderstandings”.
But conflicts of interest are more common than we might think. They are the order of the day and any of us can face one. When a situation entangles us, we must listen to ourselves, if it “hurts our stomach” it is because there is something that we must disclose, being proactive and acting with a preventive criterion. We should not wait for a supervisory control or a third party to stop us. Otherwise, we may incur irregular practices that may become crimes. It is only a matter of putting on the table what is being omitted, giving space to choose.
It is within the firms, institutions, and organizations where it is necessary to ensure proper operation. And for that, each person must take responsibility for what he/she should report. On the other hand, the counterpart can periodically ask for a declaration of assets and interests, not limited only to personal interests. It can also consider family interests, friendships, and other relevant ties. In this context, the task of effective controls can also be entrusted to external bodies; if there is a rule that is not complied with, it is also correct to sanction so that they do not fall into the same irregularity again.
For a company to obtain good results, beyond encouraging sales, it is necessary to make sure that workers are aligned with the objectives, that as well as knowing their rights, they also know what their duties are and what they risk in the event of a conflict of interest. If this issue is not taken seriously, firms risk damaging their corporate image (which adds to the increased costs of restoring trust), influence peddling, loss of clients due to poor reputation, and public distrust.
By Susana Sierra
Source: La Segunda