Mon | Dec 17, 2018

NIA head questions delay in appointment of commissioners to Integrity Commission

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Professor Trevor Munroe

More than two months after Governor General Sir Patrick Allen gave his assent to the Integrity Commission law, there is still no word as to when the commissioners to preside over the single anti-corruption oversight body will be appointed.

Executive Director of the National Integrity Action (NIA), Professor Trevor Munroe, yesterday called for speedy action to establish the commission, noting that the legislation spells out the urgent need for the Government to strengthen Jamaica's anti-corruption regime.

In a Gleaner interview, Munroe said there has been consensus that Jamaica's anti-corruption regime is significantly defective and needs to be urgently bolstered by the new law.

He noted that the current standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) set a deadline for the Integrity Commission law to be passed and implemented by the end of 2017.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck had indicated that the appointed day for the establishment of the commission would coincide with the governor general's selection of the five commissioners.

OUTSTANDING MATTERS

Under the new law, the governor general appoints the five commissioners after consultation with the prime minister and leader of the opposition.

"These are the two contemporaneous matters outstanding - the appointed day and the appointment of the five commissioners," Prof Munroe pointed out.

When established, the Integrity Commission will have responsibility for investigating alleged or suspected acts of corruption; preventing, identifying, and prosecuting corruption; and monitoring the award and discharge of government contracts and prescribed licences.

Munroe shared that there were four things on the legislative front that should be completed in order to respond effectively to the needs of the country.

They are:

• The Integrity Commission law and the establishment of the single anti-corruption body,

• The implementation of political party registration, which started last week,

• The implementation of campaign finance regulations, scheduled to begin on March 1,

• The establishment of the independence of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA). The MOCA bill is pending passage in Parliament.

"Hesitancy, delay, and lack of urgency in these critical areas signal to Jamaicans, and by extension the international community, an inadequate political will, given the magnitude of our corruption challenges," Munroe noted.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com