As a senior officer in the Finance Ministry, you have access to some confidential and crucial information about policy decisions that the Government is about to announce. These decisions are likely to have far-reaching impact on the housing and construction industry. If the builders have access to this information beforehand, they can make huge profits. One of the builders has done a lot of quality work for the Government and is known to be close to your immediate superior, who asks you to disclose this information to the said builder. 1. What are the options available to you? 2. Evaluate each of these options and choose the option which you would adopt, giving reasons. (20 marks) (250 words)

Case facts

  • The builder is well-known for efficiency.
  • The builder has a close relationship with the higher officer, who wishes to share information with him.

Options available

  • One option is to provide the information to the builder. It might be argued that the builder provided excellent service to the government and thus deserves to be recognised. Another probable explanation is that officers are required by service discipline to obey superior officers’ directives. Both arguments are flawed.

If a builder is to be rewarded for quality or on-time performance, it may only be in compliance with a contract. It may include some type of performance incentive. If he meets the requirements, he will be eligible for the bonuses. 

  • Officers must obey orders from superiors, but they cannot obey illegitimate commands. Obedience is only required in the case of valid orders. The immediate superior’s command is unconstitutional. Some government policies have business implications. No one should reveal them to interested parties ahead of time. They are made available to everyone at the same time through authorised official releases.
  • Another unethical approach is to inform the builder through a trustworthy third party. If a critical policy is leaked prematurely, authorities will investigate, and the officer may face jail time for disclosing government secrets. Because this is a no-win situation, the only choice is to politely refuse to obey the illegal directives. One may try to use trickery or evasive behaviour, such as delivering incorrect information or telling the builder only after the policy is made public. It’s pointless to try these ruses. 

It is preferable to refuse to reveal the information right away.

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