CASE CLOSED ... Politicians escape prosecution for late election expense returns filing
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says it will not be pursuing criminal charges against candidates from the February 25 elections who failed to file their expense returns on time.
The office says this is because all the candidates have now filed.
The DPP, Paula Llewellyn, says her office and the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) are both in agreement that the primary objective of the Representation of the People Act in relation to the matter was to secure compliance from candidates.
She says a decision was taken that her office would write to the 17 candidates had not filed giving them until April 26 to comply.
She further explains that it was also decided that her office would not prosecute these individuals provided they filed in the stipulated time and that they are not repeat offenders.
However, Llewellyn says preparatory steps were being taken to prosecute the matter, should the candidates not comply.
The DPP says in a letter yesterday, the EOJ informed her office that Electoral Expenses Return forms had been received from all candidates whose names had been submitted to her office.
The EOJ reportedly stated that although the documents were received late, it was satisfied that the candidates have now complied with the requirements of the Act.
The DPP says based on that letter from the EOJ it is clear that the Electoral Office, which is the complainant in the matter, considers the matter closed.
Under Section 101 of the Representation of the People Act, any candidate or his agent who fails to make a return or makes a false declaration in their return commits an offence.
That person is liable to pay a fine of between $20,000 and $80,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, if convicted before the Circuit Court.