By Linda Straker
Grenada may soon have to amend the legislation which provides for the work of the integrity commission, because of an identified flaw that can have implication on those who declare their assets and in the future are discovered to have made false declarations.
While presenting Grenada’s report at last week’s inaugural Integrity Commission and Anti-Corruption Unit, Commissioner Oforiwa Augustine, who presented Grenada’s report on behalf of the Integrity Commission, disclosed that the legislation provides for each declarant to be provided with a full disclosure certificate once they declared their assets to the office.
However, Dr Edward Hoseah who heads the Tanzania Anti-Corruption Unit, recommended that declarants should instead receive a “certificate of acknowledgement” confirming that the person have complied with the legislation, and that a full disclosure certificate will be given after the completed investigations of the information provided to the Integrity Commission.
“You have to be extremely careful with this, because what you get when the person declares is information of claims, you now have to investigate that these claims are true and not false, so what you need to do is to give them a certificate of acknowledgement and not a certificate of full disclosure,” he suggested.
Another challenge for the Grenada Integrity Commission is the best way to handle persons who are of, or close to pre-retirement age. Other countries shared that some retiring from the service is not a reason to not declare assets, and the states make it mandatory to declare assets up to 12 months after leaving the service.
Now, despite the fact that more than 400 assets were declared to the commission, it’s now identified that there is not a format for members of the public to complain against public officials who have declared their assets. ‘This is one of the challenges we have to also deal with,” said Commissioner Oforiwa Augustine, who presented Grenada’s report on behalf of the Integrity Commission.
Up 15,000 public servants and officials are expected to declare their assets, but to date only 435 were provided with the letters of demand from the Commission’s office. Of the 435, only 10 have failed to comply, while one has filed a motion in the court against the Attorney-General, challenging the section of the law that deals with financial disclosure.
According to records in the Court, Magistrate Jerry Seales has filed the motion. It was disclosed during the conference that the High Court has heard the matter, but judgement is reserved.