Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Unacceptable - Munroe urges PM to table Integrity Commission reports sent to his office

Published:Friday | January 25, 2019 | 12:18 AM
Munroe

Anti-corruption campaigner Professor Trevor Munroe has reacted with surprise to a revelation that a number of annual statutory deduction reports, which were completed and “duly submitted” to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), have not been tabled in the House of Representatives.

Munroe said that yesterday’s disclosure by Integrity Commission of Jamaica (ICJ) Chairman Justice Karl Harrison that the annual reports detailing the statutory declarations of parliamentarians for the years 2014 to 2016 have been in the possession of the OPM without action was unacceptable.

“I can see no reason why once the annual report is sent to the OPM that it should take more than three months for it to be tabled in Parliament after being reviewed in whatever way appropriate by the OPM itself,” declared Munroe.

Lawmakers are required, under the Integrity Commission Act, to declare all assets, liabilities, and incomes by the last day of each legislative year. The commission is then required to examine the declarations and prepare an annual report, which is sent to the Office of the Prime Minister for tabling in the Lower House.

2013 LAST ONE TABLED

Days ago, Munroe, head of National Integrity Action, penned a letter to the commission asserting that 2016 was the last time a report, which was for 2013, had been tabled in Parliament.

While the ICJ did not indicate when the reports had been sent, Munroe has urged the OPM to ensure that the reports are tabled, if possible, at the next sitting of Parliament.

“The OPM needs to set an example. When the report comes to the OPM, it should be quickly tabled in the Parliament so that the press and the people can see to what extent parliamentarians are in compliance with the law, which they themselves have made.

“So while the delay may not be strictly in breach of the letter of the law, it is clearly out of keeping with the spirit of the law,” Munroe further contended.

Yesterday’s revelation by the ICJ is not the first of its kind as The Gleaner, on January 27, 2016, carried a story titled ‘Stuck in OPM - Integrity Commission reports parked at prime minister’s office’.

Then, the ICJ told The Gleaner that the commission had submitted reports for the years 2010 to 2013 to the OPM some time before, but there was no word from that office as to when the reports would be tabled in Parliament.

Efforts to get a comment from the OPM were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the ICJ also advised that preparation of the annual report for 2017 is currently in progress and is expected to be completed before the end of the 2018-2019 financial year.

It further noted that the commission would commence the preparation of the annual report for 2018 upon the expiration of the statutory declaration timeline of March 2019.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com