Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Commish returns amid growing calls for probe of PNP scandal

Published:Friday | September 2, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson and Livern Barrett
Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams

Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams returns to the island today with mounting public pressure for Jamaica's authorities to probe the People's National Party (PNP) campaign donations scandal that has now touched on kickbacks allegedly involving state offices.

Yesterday, a member of the hierarchy of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) told The Gleaner that an investigation could be launched into the scandal, which, in the last 72 hours, has spewed allegations that Chinese firms doing business here usually pay bribes to political parties through government ministers.

The high-ranking cop said an investigation could be launched if the corruption allegations are credible, adding that the police have the power to initiate any investigation without being invited to so do.

"If there's reason to believe that a crime has been committed, then the police have a duty to investigate," said the cop, who requested not to be named.

The Gleaner understands that already, there have been discussions within the Force and they could continue upon Williams' arrival.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds, who is acting commissioner, could not be reached for comment, while the head of the Police Corporate Communication Unit, Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, reserved comment.

INTEGRITY COMMISSION

The PNP has ordered its Integrity Commission to probe into the allegations of bribery linked to comments former Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies said were made by Paul Burke, the party's general secretary.

But National Integrity Action, former Contractor General Greg Christie, and private sector players have called for an independent probe, citing the allegations, which would be in breach of the Corruption Prevention Act.

China's embassy in Kingston has said that Chinese companies operating locally have "categorically" denied paying bribes.

Meanwhile, up to late yesterday, the Police Fraud Squad had not opened an investigation into allegations that senior members of the PNP, who collected millions of dollars to finance the party's election campaign, have failed to turn over the money.

The Fraud Squad said no one from the PNP had come forward and made a report to the police.

It noted that fraud investigations are only initiated after a complainant comes forward to report an allegation.

The Office of the Contractor General told The Gleaner yesterday that questions posed on whether its office would be looking into the allegations "have been duly noted" but added that "Contractor General Dirk Harrison will offer no comment".

The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency has reportedly said that it is monitoring the scandal.