(Quick Tips)Dealing with public officials


  • Don’t bribe - don’t offer advantage to a public servant:

    • with the intention to influence the public servant in the performance of his official duties.

    • with the intention to keep him “sweet”, with a view to obtaining a favourable disposition in the future in relation to his official duties/capacity.

    • while having dealings of any kind with the government department or public body in which he is employed.

  • Don’t offer advantage to a public servant which would give rise to an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest for the public servant or perception of undue influence on the public servant in the performance of his official duties.

Courtesy Gifts

  • Courtesy gifts to public servants are unnecessary and should be avoided in the first place, but if it is considered a necessary protocol during an event or part of the ceremony to offer a courtesy gift to a public servant representing his department or organization, the following is recommended:

    • consult the public servant in advance whether he agrees to receive the gift at the event/ceremony.

    • understand that the gift will be regarded as being offered to the government department or public body which the public servant is representing and will be subject to the means of disposal directed by the organization.  Do not offer gifts intended for the personal use of the public servant. 

    • offer only items of modest or nominal value symbolic of the event/occasion/organization, e.g. a certificate of appreciation, an inexpensive display item with the organizer’s logo or name of the event.


  • Don’t offer entertainment to a public servant which

    • may be seen as excessive (frequent or lavish) or inappropriate (e.g. entertainment in a nightclub) to a public servant of the government department or public body.

    • would give rise to a potential conflict of interest situation for him in relation to his duties/capacity or the perception, or allegations of an intention to “sweeten” the latter.

Request for Assistance

  • Don’t make any undue requests to a public servant (e.g. request for favour or assistance that would give them an unfair advantage over other members of the public or users of the public service).

    • Use proper channels and follow proper procedures in obtaining public service or asking for assistance or advice in relation to public service.

    • Conduct business with the government or public bodies in a fair and proper manner that will not give rise to criticism of impropriety.