Delinquent public-sector workers slapped with fines
Four hundred and seventy thousand dollars.
That was the total fine levied against 37 of the 61 public-sector employees snared in the latest crackdown by the Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) on state employees who continue to ignore their obligation to file annual statutory declarations.
Failing to file a statutory declaration is a breach of the Corruption Prevention Act, which attracts a maximum fine of $200,000, or two years in prison for each year.
However, when the cases were called up in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Monday, none of the 37 persons who pleaded guilty before Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey was fined more than $10,000 for a single year.
Mayor of Lucea Wynter McIntosh, the highest-ranking public servant in the group, was fined a total of $25,000 - $5,000 each year - after admitting that he did not file statutory declarations for the five-year period from 2007 to 2011.
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) accounted for 32 of the 61 persons who were summoned to appear in court. Fourteen persons were booked to return to court on June 5, while three pleaded not guilty and will go to trial.
Three members of the JCF - Kimel Wallace, Edward McDonald and Angela McIntosh-Gayle - along with Glenford Ricketts from the St Mary Parish Council, did not attend court, resulting in warrants of disobedience being issued for them.
give info on spouse
The Corruption Prevention Act stipulates that each year, several categories of public-sector employees are required to provide the CPC with all particulars of their assets, liabilities, and incomes, as well as those of their spouses and children, where applicable.
However, the commission, which was established in 2001 to help stamp out corruption in the public sector, has revealed that the number of public servants flouting this requirement has jumped from 25 per cent at the end of December 2003 to 52 per cent as at December 2012.
In an interview with The Gleaner earlier this year, director of the corruption watchdog group National Integrity Action Professor Trevor Munroe argued that insufficient sanction for breaches of the act could be one of the factors contributing to this high rate of non-compliance.
Munroe also underscored that filing statutory declarations was important as it "allows the authorities to discern, over a period of time, the extent to which a public servant's assets and liabilities match - or are disproportionate to - their known legal sources of income".