by Linda Straker
- Ruel Edwards under investigation by Integrity Commission
- Government would endorse Integrity Commission report
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has confirmed that Ruel Edwards who was recently appointed Director of Economic and Technical Cooperation in the Ministry of Economic Development and Planning, is currently under investigation for financial wrongdoings and corrupt practices which has negatively affected his former place of employment.
The Integrity Commission is conducting the investigation. This independent body was established by the Integrity in Public Life Act (Act No.24 of 2013), which authorises the commission to oversee the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Edwards was originally appointed Chairman of the Marketing and National Importing Board – a statutory body set up to market Grenadian produce locally and overseas, and at the same time be the main supply of bulk commodity items such as sugar, rice and powder milk. He then became its Chief Executive Officer.
The Integrity Commission said that it launched its own investigation because of media reports that the management of the entity was engaging in acts that contravene the corruption and integrity in public life legislation. That investigation, according to Attorney General Dr Lawrence Joseph began in early August.
However, on 31 July, the Prime Minister announced that government would investigate the operations during the period 2013 to 2018 because of information surfacing about financial wrongdoings which had him “extremely uncomfortable.”
On Tuesday, 4 September Joseph said that government would endorse the report of the Integrity Commission to avoid a duplication of efforts. “They are acting with the law, it gives them the right to set up the investigation and we will not duplicate,” he said while addressing the media in the post cabinet briefing.
Dr Mitchell indicated that the investigation will focus on the role Edwards played that lead to the current state of the MNIB because he was the CEO before taking up his new post. While the investigation is ongoing, action is expected to be taken on Edwards in accordance with public service rules.
“The ministry he is employed with has taken the initiative to write to the Public Service Commission because he has a public service contract. We cannot just act. The public service has to act; and so recommendations will be made as far as continuing his employment at this juncture, until such time that the inquiry is over and the facts come out,” Dr Mitchell disclosed to the press.