The  enactment of the  Prevention  of  Corruption  Act  (PoCA)  2002  is  a major landmark in the fight against corruption in Mauritius. The Act consolidates and strengthens the law against corruption. It  gives  the Independent Commission
Against Corruption (ICAC) extensive responsibilities and the powers to forge a change of attitude  and a mindset that  will render the practice of corruption more difficult.

One  area  in  which  a  change  of  mindset  is  urgently  required  concerns  the practice of offering gifts to  public officials. Gifts, benefits or hospitality  may be offered to public  officials in different circumstances  and for a variety of reasons. However, this has always raised  the  delicate issue of propriety in relation to what is permissible and what is not. The major role of public officials is to serve the public. To do this efficiently and effectively, they must gain and maintain the trust of the public. Their conduct must clearly demonstrate that they are motivated by public interest at all times and not by private gain. The pitfall to be avoided at all costs by  public officials is the loss of impartiality, real or perceived, which the acceptance of gifts may bring about.

There is a general prohibition on the acceptance or offer of gifts and hospitality. However,  the  complete  and  absolute  ban  on  gifts  altogether  under  any circumstances, even the most  innocuous, may be contrary to common sense but there can be serious consequences for the organisation if the management of gifts, benefits and hospitality is not appropriate. Loss of public trust, financial loss and possible legal action  may occur subsequently. Therefore, managing such situations is crucial to avoid unprofessional and unethical conduct, or the perception of any behaviour that undermines integrity.

The objective of these guidelines is to provide clear and detailed guidance to public officials regarding gifts and hospitality and highlight  their obligations in situations where they are offered such gift or hospitality.

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