Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Adverse alert

Integrity Commission’s new policy to inform persons negatively affected before tabling in House

Published:Thursday | July 6, 2023 | 12:11 AM

THE INTEGRITY Commission says it has introduced a new internal policy that requires the director of investigation to communicate with persons who may be adversely affected by an investigation report before the document is sent to Parliament for tabling.

It says the objective of the policy is to communicate the findings of investigation reports to the affected parties so that their comments may be recorded.

In a news release on Wednesday, the commission said the introduction of the new internal policy was the reason it requested that the report sent on May 31 be withdrawn and returned.

The commission made it clear that the report was not recalled because of any error or to add anything to it.

According to the commission, it recalled the report as it was aware at the time that the document had not yet been tabled and that it had recalled reports in the past with the facility and courtesy of the Parliament.

In future, the commission will communicate with persons adversely affected by its reports before sending them to Parliament for tabling.

The commission wrote to the Houses of Parliament on June 8 and 9, requesting that the report be returned. Speaker of the House of Representatives Marisa Dalrymple Philibert sent back the report on June 12.

However, Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson withheld his copy of the report and subsequently tabled it last Friday.

He suggested that there was no legal basis for him not to table the report, noting that the commission could send an addendum if it wants to amend the report.

“The commission wishes to place on record that contrary to what was inferred by the Senate president in his comments made in the Senate on June 30, the commission did not receive any communication from him to indicate that he was awaiting a legal justification for the recall of the report, nor did the president, at any time, request such a justification from the commission,” the anti-corruption body said.

The commission said that its new internal policy, instituted on June 7, 2023, has not and will not be applied by the commission to matters that are being referred for prosecution.

“In such cases, persons who are negatively impacted, where appropriate, would be communicated with pursuant to the Judges’ Rules Administrative Directive.”

And the commission has advised that it has sent two investigation reports to parliament, including the unaltered recalled report.

The report tabled by Tavares Finson highlighted allegations of conflict of interest, corruption and irregularities in relation to the acquisition of shares in the FirstRock Capital Holdings by the Airport Authority of Jamaica and the Norman Manley International Airport.