Thu | Aug 17, 2017

DPP gathers more information on delinquent candidates

Published:Saturday | April 16, 2016 | 4:00 AMLivern Barrett

The nation's chief prosecutor has confirmed that her office is now in possession of two lists from the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) with the names of 37 candidates from the last general election who have either failed to file their declaration of election expenses or did so after the deadline.

Paula Llewellyn, director of public prosecutions (DPP), said the lists were submitted to her office with a number of recommendations from the EOJ.

The DPP said two senior prosecutors have since been assigned to liaise with the EOJ to gather more information before deciding the next move.

She said that under her supervision, the senior prosecutors will work with the electoral office "to guide the process of gathering further information through statements from the relevant officers, which will facilitate the office of the DPP being put in a position to take an informed position".

All candidates in the February 25 general election were scheduled to submit their declaration of expenditure by April 6.

ROPA, SECTION 101

Under Section 101 of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), any candidate, or his agent, who fails to make a return or makes a false declaration in his return, commits an offence and, on conviction before the Circuit Court, is liable to a fine of between $20,000 and $80,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than three years.

In addition, the candidate can be disqualified from holding any post of election officer for a period of up to seven years from the date of conviction.

National Integrity Action (NIA), this week, called for the office of the DPP to institute proceedings against delinquent candidates.

The NIA says failure to prosecute will encourage candidates to believe they are above the law and may result in continued breaches.

The NIA is also calling for the Government to amend the ROPA to strengthen the penalties for those convicted of breaching this section of the law.