Integrity Commission says moving ahead with prosecuting defaulters

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Integrity Commission Chairman Kumar Duraisami along with Commissioner Rosemary Benjamin-Noble (left) and Commission Secretary Amanda Jaisingh

The Integrity Commission is committed to pursuing prosecution against officials in public offices – a significant portion of whom are still delinquent in declaring their assets to the Commission. This is according to Chairman of the Commission, Kumar Duraisami, who told INews that the Commission is “definitely going ahead” with the prosecution of defaulters but noted that they first want to send reminders before doing so.

He could not say how many defaulters there currently are, explaining that this number keeps changing every day whenever these officials make submissions. However, Duraisami noted that when the Commission meets in January 2020 for its first statutory meeting, a final list of delinquents will be determined before moving ahead.

A few months ago, Duraisami had disclosed that despite a two-month extension to the June 30 deadline, less than half of the declaration forms that were sent out were filled out and returned. He noted that some 1137 forms were distributed but only 396 were received after the August 31 extended deadline.

Among the defaulters are a majority of the Members of Parliament from both the Government and Opposition. Back in May, the Commission had flagged some 716 public officials for failing to make their declarations including President David Granger and some members of his Cabinet.

Over the past months, the Commission has complained that inadequate financial resources have hampered its ability to carry out its mandate effectively, especially with regards to publishing the names of defaulters.

According to the Integrity Commission Act, all public officers in high office are required to file declarations of their assets as well as those held by their spouses and children. The law states that any public officer who fails to comply with the Commission is liable upon summary conviction, to a fine of G$25,000 and imprisonment for a period of no less than six months or more than one year.