Integrity Commission seeks to educate the public on its constitutional role amidst calls for action against public officials
Contact: Integrity Commission
Thursday 15 September 2011 – The establishment of the Integrity Commission No. 6 of 2004 is a constitutional requirement of Section 118 and 119 of the Saint Lucia Constitution under the Integrity in Public Life Act. Its purpose is to ensure that legislators and other senior public servants perform their duties to the society with honesty and integrity. A five-member Commission is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.
During the past weeks, there have been a number of rumours, innuendoes and calls on the Commission to investigate certain actions or omissions on the part of the public officials. It is, therefore, prudent that the public be informed of the power of the Integrity Commission as it relates to the prevention of corruption and what is required. The requirement as stated in Section 32 of the Integrity in Public Life Act is:
(1) Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person in public life –
(a) is in breach of a provision of this Act;
(b) has committed an act of corruption
may make a complaint in writing to the Commission.
(2) The complaint shall state:-
(a) The particulars of the breach or act of corruption;
(b) The particulars, as far as they are known, of the person against whom the complaint is made;
(c) The nature of the evidence that the complainant proposes to produce in respect of the complaint; and
(d) Such other particulars as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Minister.
(3) A complaint to the Commission under this section may be presented in person, or may be sent by registered post to the Chairperson of the Integrity Commission.
Section 34 states:
(1) The Commission may on receipt of a complaint pursuant to Section 32 and after examining of same, reject the complaint if the Commission is of the opinion that the complaint –
(a) Is frivolous; or
(b) Does not pertain to a matter the Commission is empowered to deal with under this Act.
(2) No complaint shall be rejected by the Commission without giving the person who made the complaint a reasonable opportunity to be heard.
The following Second Schedule of the Integrity in Public Life Act determines what defines Acts of Corruption:
ACTS OF CORRUPTION
A person in public life commits an act of corruption if –
(i) (a) he or she solicits or accepts, whether directly or indirectly; any article or money or other benefit, being a gift, favour promise or advantage for himself or herself or another person of doing any act or omitting to do any act in the performance of his or her official functions or causing any other person to do so or omit to do anything;
(b) he or she in the performance of his or her public functions does nay act or omits to do any act for the purpose of obtaining any illicit benefit for himself or herself or any other person;
(c) he or she fraudulently uses or conceals any property or other benefit derived from any such act or omission to act under paragraph (a) or (b);
(d) he or she offers or grants, directly or indirectly, to a public servant any article, money or other benefit being a gift, favour, promise or advantage to the public servant’s public duties;
(e) he or she allows his or her private interest to conflict with his or her public duties or improperly influence his or her conduct in the performance of his or her public duties;
(f) he or she being a natural person or a corporation, either aggregate or sole, club, society or other body of one or more persons, offers or grants, directly or indirectly to a person performing a public function in a foreign State, any article or money or other benefit, being a gift, favour, promise or advantage in connection with any economic or commercial transaction for an act to be performed or omitted to be performed by that person in the performance of his or her public functions;
(g) he or she improperly uses for his or her own benefit or that of a third party any property (including money) belonging to the Government or any statutory body or any government company or anybody providing public utilities to which he or she has access as a result of or in the course of, the performance or his or her functions;
(h) he or she, acting as an intermediary or through a third person seeks to obtain a decision from any Ministry or Department of the Government or any body providing public utilities in order that he or she may improperly obtain for himself or herself or for another person any benefit or gain;
(i) he or she for his or her own benefit or for that of a third person, improperly diverts any property belonging to Government or any other person, which is in his or her custody for the due administration of his or her duties;
(j) he or she acquires, or becomes a partner, associate or shareholder in, or a director of a firm or company which has a contract with the Government or with the public body of which such person is a member or employee unless the person makes a disclosure of such partnership, association, shareholding or other interest to the Commission;
(k) he or she improperly uses official influence in support of any scheme or in furtherance of any contract or proposed contract or other mater in regard to which he or she has an interest;
(l) he or she or any other person, on his or her behalf, acquires property or pecuniary resource disproportionate to his or her legitimate sources of income;
(m) he or she instigates, aids, abets or is an accessory after the fact or participates in whatsoever manner in the commission or attempted commission of or conspires to commit any act of corruption referred to in paragraphs (a) to (k);
(2) Being aware of the commission of any act of corruption referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e) fails or neglects without reasonable excuse, to make a complaint to the Commission under section 32.
Therefore, based on the above requirements of the law the public is informed that complaints must be made properly and not anonymously.
Members of the public in possession of information on persons in public life are obligated to pass on that information to the Commission in writing.
The Commission will continue to work with the news media to inform the public about its constitutional mandate and its workings.
September 07, 2011
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