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'Finance ministry not open to request for online access'

Published:Monday | December 9, 2013 | 12:00 AM

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) is again expressing concern that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has not given it a favourable response to its request for online access to relevant computerised Tax Administration Jamaica (Inland Revenue) records.

In its 2012-2013 annual report tabled in Parliament last week, the commission notes that it first made the request in its 2003 report and, subsequently, followed up with numerous pieces of correspondence to government technocrats.

Among several recommendations sent to Parliament to assist the commission in carrying out its mandate is for the CPC to be given powers authorising it to "inspect and make copies of all records and documents of government departments and agencies, including the revenue services".

The objective of the commission is the reduction and prevention of corruption in the public sector. Statutory declarations are required from specified public servants whose total annual emoluments are $2 million and above.

Delinquency among workers

The report indicates that there has been a 25 per cent increase in the level of delinquency among prescribed public-sector workers to file declarations with the commission. Of the 31,132 declarations expected during the period under review, 16,216, or 52 per cent, remain outstanding.

At the same time, the commission said in the case where there are declarations, its investigations have revealed instances in which public servants were in receipt of gifts and income from various sources for which adequate documentary evidence was not presented to allow verification.