Parliamentarians in both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament are set to declare their assets to the Office of the Integrity Commission on 4 and 5 March 2014.
Office Facilitator Eunice Sandy-David said that members of the Lower House will be presenting on 4 March, while 5 March will be for the members of the Upper House. Once he fulfils his promise made while presenting the 2014 Budget, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is expected to be the first to presents his declaration forms to the Office of the Integrity Commission which is located at Archibald Avenue.
“At present, I am awaiting a call from the Commission to make my declaration. As promised I will be the first to do so,” he said on 10 December 2013. Though Grenada approved its Public Life Act back in 2007 and a commission was appointed, a new legislation was approved in 2012 to correct deficiencies in the previous law which was identified by members of the old Commission which was headed by former chairman retired Judge Lyle St Paul.
Following the passage of the new legislation, a new commission was appointed as of 15 November 2013 and it’s chaired by retired Judge Monica Joseph. According to Part three of the legislation which focuses on Financial Disclosure where a person in public life fails to file a declaration the Commission shall publish such fact in the Gazette and in at least one weekly newspaper circulation in the island followed by an application to the Court for an order directing the public to comply with the provision of the law. In addition to making the court the Court has the power to impose “conditions as it thinks fit.”
According to the Public Life Act, the Governor General shall appoint an auditor to examine and verify the contents and accuracy of the declarations. “The auditor shall examine every declaration filed pursuant to this section in order to ensure that such declaration complies with the requirements of this Act,” the legislation recommends.
All information relating and pertaining to declarations, according to the law, shall be treated as secret and confidential and any unauthorised person who violates this section of the law commits an offence. The penalty for this offence on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding EC$20,000 or one year imprison.
However, if a matter is before the court that requires the Integrity Commission to release declaration information then Judge can order that the information be released to the Court.
By Linda Straker
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