Sun | Feb 16, 2020

AG warns some public officers could face corruption-related charges

Published:Friday | January 17, 2020 | 12:28 AM
Dale Marshall

BRIDGETOWN (CMC):

Attorney General Dale Marshall, guaranteeing that “some people will face the court”, says the government has employed the services of a British law firm to assist in the investigations of several state enterprises.

Marshall told Parliament on Tuesday in his contribution to the debate on the Public Life Bill that the Mia Mottley administration had engaged the services of the London-based law firm Fulcrum Chambers Ltd (Fulcrum) and that he was aware that Barbadians were eager to see some action taken against corrupt individuals.

But he told legislators that in order to bring a case, evidence must first be obtained.

“I know that Barbadians want blood, I suppose ... . They want to know that some people face the courts and I guarantee, some people will face the court. They have to face the court, but you don’t carry to court a man based on hearsay, you carry a man to court based on proof,” Marshall said.

He said that some Barbadians were insisting that they were aware of alleged corruption practices here, but were not willing to give a statement to the police.

“This administration engaged the specialist services of an important and very reputable law firm in England and that firm has specialised in doing corruption and bribery cases both in England, the United States and other parts of the world,” he said.

Marshall said that the government had asked the firm to accept a brief and “examine the workings of our state-owned enterprises and other aspects of our government”.

Intensive study

The attorney general said that an intensive three-month scoping study had been completed, which examined all of the financial dealings of state enterprises and other departments in order to identify those areas where there is prima facie evidence of corruption so as to inform a more in-depth and intensive investigation stance to be taken by the government.

While he did not disclose the cost of the exercise, Marshall said there was need to get external assistance in order to follow the paper trail of corruption that was not readily available within the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Marshall said the scoping study was completed and the consultants from Fulcrum are expected to deliver their report to the government in early February.

He said that an investigative strategy would be formulated to take a further look at any acts of corruption.

“When that report is received, they will make a set of recommendations, essentially, as to potential areas of corrupt practice so that we can then focus an investigation on those areas,” Marshall said, adding that no matter how daunting and how reluctant residents were to disclose evidence, the investigations would continue.

He also gave the assurance that the highly touted Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Bill would soon be introduced to complement the Integrity in Public Life Bill.

During his presentation, Marshall made several references to the ongoing trial in the United States, where former government minister Donville Inniss could be jailed for up to 20 years on charges of money laundering, allegedly committed during his tenure as a minister.