Chuck suggests Integrity Commission use sting operations in corruption fight

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Chuck suggests Integrity Commission use sting operations in corruption fight

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has suggested that the Integrity Commission examine using sting operations, in collaboration with law enforcement, to prevent acts of corruption in Government.

He put the question to head of the commission, Greg Christie, earlier today at the second meeting of the Integrity Commission oversight committee at Gordon House.

Chuck said he was not proposing to tell the commission how to do its work, but suggested that entrapment or sting operations may be helpful to preventing corruption.

Christie has pointed out that although the Integrity Commission Act speaks to corruption prevention, the current structure of the agency does not allow for that.

“The best prevention, in my view, is if public sector workers, if it's possible to work with the police, maybe to set up sting operations or entrapping people in the act of corruption,” Chuck said.

Christie told the committee that there is nothing in the design of the legislation that addresses preventing corruption, and that the agency is now moving to implement these measures.

“When you look at the three operation divisions for the commission — complaints and information, investigation, and prosecution — there was nothing in that design which speaks to preventing corruption, although the overwhelming majority of the mandate that you find in section six of the Act speaks to preventing corruption, and it's something I have found in my experience elsewhere as well. The legislation speaks to it but the institutional framework just forgets it,” he outlined.

He said the plan is to add a division to deal with corruption prevention through education and awareness.

The executive director said another mechanism for prevention is to examine public bodies processes and procedures that may provide fertile ground for corruption, irregularities and improprieties, and make recommendations to fill those gaps.

He noted that in some other jurisdictions the anti-corruption bodies are not only enabled to make recommendations, but also to instruct those changes. He pointed to the 2008 Sierra Leone model, which empowers the anti-corruption agency to direct change, and gives public bodies three months to make those changes.

“In preventing corruption, for it to be effective, we need to be committed to understanding what the issues are and to ensure that root cause analysis is done in terms of what the problem is and appropriate remedial or corrective action is developed, or for the next 10 years you'll be talking about the same thing and you will have no improvement in the issue of corruption,” Christie argued.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte pointed out that she has repeatedly made the point that passing laws is not enough and that the requirements for successful implementation are equally important.

“If powers are prescribed and are assigned then we also have to ensure that the resources to discharge those powers and functions are also in place,” she said, noting the significance of the Integrity Commission committee as the first Parliamentary committee established specifically to provide oversight for a commission of Parliament.

Alphea Saunders

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