As it prepares to accept declaration of assets, the Integrity Commission will embark on a series of public information activities aimed at educating persons on who will be directly and indirectly affected by the Public Life legislation.
Chairman of the Commission, retired Justice Monica Joseph said that various mass media publications will explain the objective of the law and what are the responsibilities for those who are affected. “These publications will focus on the purpose of the law, its objective and what will be process for declaring assets,” she said.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell recently told a seating of the House of Representatives that he will be the first to comply with the Public Life Act. “At present, I am awaiting a call from the Commission to make my declaration. As promised, I will be the first to do so. I expect this to happen well before our first anniversary in office. I am ready and willing,” he told the House while presenting the 2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
However, Joseph said that even if Dr Mitchell is prepared to comply, a date will have to set to him to submit his declaration. “The process will first start with a notice from the Office of the Integrity with a given date for submitting the relevant forms with the necessary information,” she said.
There are 33 categories of persons who are described as Public Life officials, starting with the members of the Commission. It also includes Parliamentarians, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Administrative Officers, Magistrates, Members of the Public Service Commission, Chairpersons; Deputy Chairpersons, Chief Executives and Deputy Chief Executives of all statutory bodies to all public officers including non established officers receiving a salary in excess of EC$2,000.
Joseph confirms that Parliamentarians will be the first to declare their assets to the Commission.
According to the Public Life law all declarations filed with the Commission and the records of the Commission are secret and confidential and shall not be made public, save and except where a particular declaration or record is required to be produced by an Order of the Court for the purpose of court proceeding directly link the Public Life Act or the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Where an unauthorized person publishes information that was submitted to the Integrity Commission, that person according to the legislation commits and offence and is liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding EC$20,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.
by Linda Straker