Mon | Sep 16, 2019

Letter of the Day | Auditor general’s role key to Integrity Commission

Published:Monday | August 19, 2019 | 12:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The duties of the auditor general of Jamaica include the auditing of the accounts of all departments and offices of the Government of Jamaica at least once per year, and submitting reports of the audits to the Speaker, who must lay them before the House of Representatives. According to the Constitution, this does not prevent the auditor general from performing other functions in relation to the supervision and control of expenditure from public funds, or from performing such other functions in relation to the accounts of other public authorities and bodies administering public funds in Jamaica.

The functions of the Integrity Commission include the examination of the practices and procedures of public bodies; the investigation of acts of corruption; taking the necessary and effective measures for the prevention and detection of corruption within public bodies; and determining the extent of financial loss and such other losses to public bodies as a result of corruption.

Complementary bodies

Given the nature of the duties and functions of both bodies, it is my view that they are complementary. There is no conflict of interest as a result of the auditor general being a member of the Integrity Commission. A conflict of interest occurs when, for example, an official has a competing professional or personal obligation, or a financial interest that makes it difficult or impossible to perform fairly and properly the duties of his or her office. There is no such situation here.

Over the past several months, notwithstanding Gleaner writings to the contrary, I, along with the other commissioners, have had the opportunity and privilege of attending to the duties imposed on the commissioners by the Integrity Commission Act. There is no doubt in my mind that the contribution of the auditor general has been of great value and importance to the commission. And so it should remain.

I trust that the Parliament (which represents the people) will accept my reasoning on the matter. The agitation by The Gleaner for the removal of the auditor general should cease. On more than one occasion, The Gleaner has said that it is not about Pamela Monroe Ellis. Are you sure about this? I happen to think otherwise. Thou doth protest too much, methinks.

SEYMOUR PANTON

Integrity Commissioner