Mon | Dec 11, 2017

PSOJ, NIA want Cabinet-favoured provision removed from anti-corruption bill

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 10:22 AM

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the National Integrity Action (NIA) are calling for the removal of a provision in an anti-corruption bill that would allow the cabinet to designate some contracts ‘confidential’ and require that investigators seek permission before starting a probe.

The provision is part of Clause 52 of the Integrity Commission bill that was approved last week by the Senate with 103 amendments. 

The bill will allow for the establishment of a single anti-corruption agency with prosecutorial and investigative powers.

However, the PSOJ and the NIA say even before the bill becomes law, it could be undermined by the provision.

NIA executive director, Professor Trevor Munroe says it is unacceptable and Prime Minister Andrew Holness should take the lead in pushing for the removal of the clause.

 

NIA executive director, Professor Trevor Munroe

PSOJ chief executive officer, Dennis Chung he understands if the government needs flexibility to deal with some contracts.

But he argued that transparency cannot be sacrificed.

 

PSOJ chief executive officer, Dennis Chung

When Leader of Opposition Business, Mark Golding raised the issue on Thursday, Kamina Johnson Smith, his government counterpart, told him that he, while in government, had presided over a parliamentary committee that accepted the provision.

But Golding said "circumstances have changed” and pointed to the questions raised recently by the contractor general about the Cabinet's award and subsequent role in the 606 million dollar debushing programme.