The provisions of Law of 8 August 2022 No. ZRU-788 “On Civil Service” (Ўзбекистон Республикасининг қонуни давлат фуқаролик хизмати тўғрисида), which entered into force on 8 November 2022, cover the holders of positions incorporated in the State register of civil service positions (hereinafter, civil servants).
In particular, the Law imposes the following obligations on civil servants:
- fulfill faithfully professional duties and abide by the rules of ethical behaviour established by the relevant public body*;
- comply with the restrictions established by the Law and applicable to civil service;
- prevent conflicts of interest, i.e. situations where personal interests (direct or indirect) of civil servants influence or can influence proper fulfillment of their professional duties and where conflicts between personal interests and rights, lawful interests of citizens, society or public bodies emerge or can emerge, also by immediately informing their superiors or higher public authorities about being in conflict-of-interest situations with the aim to subsequently manage them;
- refrain from actions (omission) that can undermine the authority of a public body or raise doubts that the civil servant fulfills his/her duties faithfully, including any forms of special treatment of anybody in the fulfillment of professional duties;
- refrain from using positions for personal or other illegal purposes and prevent the exercise of illegal influence on professional duties, activities of public bodies, their officials and citizens;
- file income and asset declarations according to the procedure established by the law;
- in the event that corruption is reported – take necessary measures to prevent offences also by immediately informing a higher authority (supervisor), the competent anti-corruption or law enforcement and other authorities.
Civil servants are prohibited from:
- holding positions in a public body where a close relative or a relative-in-law (parents, siblings, children, spouses, as well as parents, siblings and children of spouses) are employed if they are their direct superiors/subordinates;
- undertaking other remunerated activities, except for teaching, academic and creative activities;
- undertaking entrepreneurial activities;
- establishing business entities, being their founders (participants), fulfilling organisational and managerial, administrative and economic functions in these entities, except for owning freely tradable shares of joint-stock companies within the limits set by the law;
- buying personally or through third persons shares in the organisations controlled by the public body where the civil servant is employed or which he/she has links with/interest in;
- receiving any kind of reward, advantage or gifts from natural or legal persons for fulfilling/not fulfilling their professional duties in the interest of these persons. The exception is made for the gifts: a) for special merits based on a decision of the public body; b) as rewards for winning competitions and contests; c) in relation with national holidays, memorable dates and other official events; d) during business trips and in relation with international and other official events if their cost does not exceed five base calculating amounts (1.5 million UZS or roughly 133 USD).
The failure to comply with the restrictions, prohibitions and obligations and/or the violation of the rules of ethical conduct are punishable with disciplinary penalties, such as:
- fine of up to 30% of the average monthly wage;
- demotion in the qualification degree;
- demotion in the position;
- removal from the position.
Besides defining the anti-corruption standards for civil servants, the Law imposes the obligation to adopt corruption prevention measures on the public bodies, including:
- prevent the commission of corruption offences by civil servants;
- ensure the compliance with the Rules of ethical conduct for civil servants* that define the framework for ethical relationship between superiors, subordinates and other civil servants, actions (omission) that can discredit the professional reputation of civil servants and the prestige of civil service, as well as the general rules of conduct on and off duty;
- establish the organisational and legal framework for preventing and managing conflicts of interest also by monitoring and supervising the compliance with it;
- implement the system of declaration of income and property;
- define the procedure for accepting and giving gifts etc.
*In line with the Law, the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan adopted Decree of 14 October 2022 No. 595 “On Additional Measures for Ensuring the Compliance of Civil Servants with the Ethical Rules” (Ўзбекистон Республикаси Вазирлар Маҳкамасининг қарори, 14.10.2022 йилдаги 595-сон Давлат фуқаролик хизматчилари томонидан одоб-ахлоқ қоидаларига риоя этилишини таъминлаш бўйича қўшимча чора-тадбирлар тўғрисида) that approved:
- the new Model rules of ethical conduct for civil servants that contain, in particular, specific anti-corruption restrictions, prohibitions and obligations (all in all, the standards established by the Model rules are similar to those provided for by the Law);
- the Model statute of an ethics commission.
Based on these documents, public bodies must develop and adopt their own acts defining the rules of ethical conduct and the procedure for establishing and functioning of internal ethics commissions.