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Stuck in OPM - Integrity Commission Reports parked at Prime Minister's office

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2016 | 1:00 AMEdmond Campbell

THREE ANNUAL reports from the Integrity Commission, the body set up to receive statutory declarations from parliamentarians, have been languishing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) for sometime now, and there is no word from that office as to when these reports will be tabled in Parliament.

Secretary-Manager of the Integrity Commission Joy Powell told The Gleaner yesterday that the oversight body had submitted its annual reports for the years 2010 to 2013 to the OPM. She said that the report for 2014 was prepared and was awaiting auditing, after which it would be sent to the OPM.

Under the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Act, the commission is obliged to submit to the prime minister an annual report relating generally to the execution of its functions as set out in Section 12, Subsection 2 of the First Schedule of the law. Further, Subparagraph 3 of the legislation says that the prime minister shall cause a copy of the report referred to in Subparagraph 2 to be laid on the table of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.

The Gleaner first sought information about the reports from Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Douglas Saunders, who directed our news reporter to the OPM but who later said that the Integrity Commission submits its reports directly to Parliament and not through a minister.

However, Ministry Paper number 6/11 showed that the Office of the Prime Minister tabled the audited financial statements for the financial year ended March 31, 2009, for the Integrity Commission in January 2011.

The OPM is being asked to indicate why the reports from the Integrity Commission, which have been sent to the prime minister, have not yet been tabled in Parliament after such an extended period.

FUNCTIONS OF

THE COMMISSION

As part of its function, the Integrity Commission receives and keeps on record statutory declarations of parliamen-tarians and examines these statements. The oversight body can also make independent enquiries and investigations relating to a statutory declarations furnished by parliamentarians.

The commission is also empowered by law to receive and investigate any complaint against a parliamentarian regarding an act of corruption within the meaning of Section 14 of the Corruption Prevention Act.

In Section 14 of the Corruption Prevention Act, a public servant commits an act of corruption if he corruptly solicits or accepts, whether directly or indirectly, any article or money or other benefit, being a gift, favour, promise or advantage, for himself or another person for doing any act or omitting to do any act in the performance of his public functions.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com