Tue | Jan 22, 2019

OAS blasts Jamaica for failure to prosecute corruption cases

Published:Thursday | September 18, 2014 | 1:21 PM

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has released a report, blasting Jamaica's prosecutorial agencies, especially the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, for what it calls a general failure to prosecute corruption cases.

The report is the culmination of a review that examined Jamaica’s implementation of modern mechanisms for preventing, detecting, punishing, and eradicating corrupt acts under the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, covering oversight bodies.

The DPP’s office was not the only State agency criticised for the lack of prosecution.

Using an OCG report from 2011, the Attorney General’s Department, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption and the Office of the Auditor General were also highlighted for inaction.

The OAS says from its review, the lack of sufficient prosecution, could serve to undermine the three main state entities which go after corrupt public and elected officials.

Those entities are the Office of the Contractor General, the Corruption Prevention Commission, the Integrity Commission and the Auditor General’s Department.

The report noted concerns among local officials that hardly any Jamaican politician or public official has been arrested or prosecuted for corruption despite the high levels of the crime in Jamaica.

Highlighting concerns by the OCG, Jamaica’s main anti-corruption body, the OAS says steps must be taken to address the failings of the DPP’s office.

It says there should be a determination as to whether the low prosecution of corruption cases is an issue of priorities or resources.

It is also recommending the establishment of formal arrangements between the OCG and the DPP to assist the Contractor General’s office in preparing relevant documentation to support prosecutions.

The report noted that the concerns over the prosecution rate are being experienced by the other corruption oversight bodies including the Corruption Prevention Commission.

According to the report, between 2008 and 2012, the corruption prevention commission referred 18 cases to the DPP but up to last year, 14 were awaiting decision from the public prosecutor.

The OAS further noted that the Integrity Commission in a 2010 report outlined that referrals from 2002 involving parliamentarians were still outstanding.

However, the commission was also admonished to make the appropriate referrals to the DPP so acts of corruption committed by parliamentarians can be detected.

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