Accusers loath to make formal statements to Integrity Commission
March 7, 2004
People are still reluctant to make formal statements to support their complaints against public servants covered by the Integrity Commission Act.
Secretary to the commission, Harinarine Singh, told Stabroek News that though he received complaints over the phone, the callers are unwilling to come in and make formal statements.
He said even though they are assured that the information provided would be treated confidentially, they still refuse to come forward. Singh said statements are needed in the event that the commission has to make a case against the officer.
Asked whether, given all the allegations of corruption being made against police officers, any complaints have been made to the commission, Singh explained that the commission shares the responsibility with a number of other organisations that would refer allegations of corruption such as bribery but the commission has not yet received any referrals.
Commenting on its work now in progress, Singh said it was currently reviewing the submissions for year ending June 30, 2003. He said the response rate to the reminders sent to those who had not yet sent in their statements was very good. Communication with many of them revealed that the forms for submission had been sent to the wrong addresses. He said as a result the reminders were now being sent to their places of work while home addresses were being updated.
Asked about the compliance of parliamentarians, Singh said those from the government are in full compliance while those from the opposition benches are less so. He said under the former leader of the opposition, Desmond Hoyte, the compliance rate was higher, explaining that Hoyte's submissions were most detailed.
Singh said he has since written the current Leader of the Opposition, PNCR leader Robert Corbin seeking assistance in getting the opposition parliamentarians to make their submissions.
Asked about the staffing of the commission Singh said it comprised himself, a receptionist and a clerical officer. Singh describes himself as a qualified accountant who is about 18 months away from completing the requirements for the ACCA.
Chairman of the Commission Anglican Bishop Randolph George explained that while the staff complement was what the commission started with, it has become evident that it is now inadequate and the situation is to be reviewed shortly. Restructuring of the commission is expected to be the subject of discussion between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Corbin, he said.
Bishop George said the Office of the President is also looking for new accommodation for the commission as the GAIBANK building on Parade Street, Kingston is no longer adequate for the needs of the commission's staff.