DPP delays rulings on corrupt civil servants

Published: Sunday | December 8, 2013 Comments 0
Llewellyn
Llewellyn

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the body set up to reduce corruption in the public sector, is expressing concern about the long delay in rulings by the director of public prosecutions (DPP).

So far, the DPP has failed to provide rulings in 77.7 per cent of cases referred to it by the commission.

"The commission has to date forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions 18 cases of suspected serious breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act involving the offence of illicit enrichment and is awaiting rulings on 14 of them," Parliament was told last week.

The discontentment of the commission is contained in its 2012-2013 annual report tabled in the House of Representatives last Tuesday.

David Grey, the secretary/manager to the commission, told The Sunday Gleaner the concern was in relation to the time frame in which rulings are made. He noted that the backlog in rulings dates back several years.

"We have in the last couple of weeks received three rulings after the report was completed and handed to the minister," said Grey.

According to the commission, for the 2012-2013 year, it referred eight cases involving allegations of serious breaches of the Corruption (Prevention) Act to the DPP.

It said another 24 cases investigated were closed by the commission as adequate information and explanations were received for the discrepancies identified.

The commission said it was currently preparing a new list of delinquent individuals which would shortly be forwarded to the DPP and other named entities as indicated in the act.

Attempts to contact DPP Paula Llewellyn proved unsuccessful.

However, appearing before a joint select committee of Parliament last week, Llewellyn called for the Government to provide her department with an additional 10 to 15 lawyers to boost the complement of 43 Crown counsels.

During that committee meeting, Deputy DPP Sanchia Burrell said perception of the DPP's office contributing to delays in the criminal justice system must be "placed and understood within the context of the non-delegable responsibilities, realities and challenges of the office".

CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY

She noted that the DPP has a constitutional duty to provide effective criminal prosecution which is both fair and just.

Burrell argued that the DPP's office is chiefly responsible for appellate work flowing from several prosecutions, while at the same time providing assistance to clerk of the court in the resident magistrates courts, and offering legal guidance on several matters impacting the criminal justice system.

Grey, while acknowledging that the DPP's office might be faced with several issues, said the commission, in drawing attention to the delays, wanted it to be known that "as far as the commission is concerned, we have, in our own small way, done some things".

Under the law, public servants in specified categories whose total annual emoluments are $2 million and above are required to file statutory declarations with the commission.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com


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