Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the proposed Integrity Commission will strengthen measures for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption.
  • The single anti-corruption body, which will have prosecutorial powers, will incorporate the Office of the Contractor General, the Corruption Prevention Commission and the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Commission.
  • Senator Reid said the Integrity Commission will be stronger and more effective than all of the existing, as it will build on the strengths of the institutions which it replaces; reduce or eliminate existing ineffectiveness; and safeguard against the abuse of authority.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the proposed Integrity Commission will strengthen measures for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption.

He said it will allow for greater efficiency and better tracking of investigations now undertaken by different agencies.

The single anti-corruption body, which will have prosecutorial powers, will incorporate the Office of the Contractor General, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption and the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Commission.

“The effect of this consolidation is that there will be one compliance mechanism for parliamentarians, public officers, and members of the public who carry out public functions. The Commission is under a duty to act independently, impartially, fairly and in the public interest,” Senator Reid said.

He was speaking in the Senate on Thursday (July 6) where the Upper House resumed debate on the Integrity Commission Act 2017, which will pave the way for the establishment of the single Commission.

The legislation, which will repeal the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Act, also seeks to promote and enhance standards of ethical conduct for parliamentarians, public officials and other persons by consolidating laws relating to the prevention of corruption and the award, monitoring and investigating of government contracts and prescribed licences.

Senator Reid said the Integrity Commission will be stronger and more effective than all of the existing bodies, as it will build on the strengths of the institutions which it replaces; reduce or eliminate existing ineffectiveness; and safeguard against the abuse of authority.

He added that one of the most important advancements is that the Commission will have the power to prosecute.

Senator Reid said the legislation provides for significant increases in the penalties for corruption relating to offences such as failure to file a statutory declaration; not providing information requested by the Commission; not attending an enquiry being conducted by the Investigation Division; knowingly making a false statement in a statutory declaration; and giving false information to the Commission.

In supporting the Bill, Opposition Senator, K.D. Knight said it will assist in addressing corruption in the public and private sectors.

He suggested that more Jamaicans will assist in the fight against corruption if they believe that their elected representatives are not beyond reproach.

“Until the populace are of the clear view that 84 persons in the Parliament are beyond reproach, there is not going to be a complete buy-in into the fight against corruption. They see us parliamentarians as the leaders and so they must have complete confidence that we are not collectively or singularly corrupt,” he said.

The debate on the Bill was postponed to a date to be announced. It was passed in the House of Representatives on January 31.