Wed | Nov 29, 2023

DPP to rule on public servants corruption file

Published:Wednesday | March 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE OFFICE of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is to decide soon whether three public servants should be charged with illicit enrichment under the Corruption Prevention Act.

This comes after separate probes by the Corruption Prevention Commission last year, which were triggered by the assets they each listed in their statutory declarations.

Under the Corruption (Prevention) Act, illicit enrichment is defined as a significant increase in the assets of a public servant that "cannot be explained having regard to his lawful earnings".

"The significant increase shall be deemed to be illicit enrichment that public servant shall be deemed to have committed an act of corruption," read a section of the Act.

If convicted in a resident's magistrate court, the Act allows for fines and prison term ranging from $1 million and or two years in prison for first offenders to $3 million and or three years for repeat offenders.

A conviction in a circuit court result in fines and prison terms of up to $5 million and or five years for first offenders to $10 million and 10 years in prison for repeat offenders.

The names of the three public servants and the types of assets they listed in their declarations have not been revealed but, David Grey, the secretary/manager to the commission, confirmed that a file has been sent to the DPP.

"The DPP will advise me of the charge to be laid or as to whether or not what I have given them is enough to make out a prima facie case," Grey told The Gleaner on Monday.

When contacted, Dirk Harrison, the deputy DPP who heads its corruption affairs unit, revealed that a ruling was "pending" in all three cases.

Before the courts

The commission has been on a drive in recent weeks to get more public servants to comply with the Corruption Prevention Act and file their statutory declarations.

Nineteen persons, including Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Castelle, were brought before the courts last month for failing to file their declarations.

According to Grey, more than 10,000 declarations that should have been filed in 2010 are still outstanding.

Another 9,866, he added, were still outstanding for 2009.

Grey disclosed that only about 64 per cent of public servants are complying with the law, but said poor record keeping was a major factor.