Six Jamaican parliamentarians under probe for illicit enrichment – Integrity Commission
Six of the country’s parliamentarians are being investigated for illicit enrichment by the Integrity Commission.
This was revealed in the Commission’s Annual Report for the 2022/23 reporting period, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The six have allegedly breached Sections 14 (5) (a) of the Corruption Prevention Act. According to the provision, illicit enrichment happens where a public servant owns assets disproportionate to his lawful earnings; and upon being requested by the commission or any person duly authorised to investigate an allegation of corruption against him, to provide an explanation as to how he came by such assets, he fails to do so; or gives an explanation which is not considered to be satisfactory.
In such a scenario, an individual shall be liable to prosecution for the offence of illicit enrichment.
According to the law, it shall be a defence to a person charged with an offence of illicit enrichment to show the court that he came by the assets by lawful means.
Separately, seven parliamentarians are being probed for providing false information under Section 43(2)(a) of the Integrity Commission Act, 2017 and Section 16(2)(b) of the Corruption Prevention Act, 2001, in relation to their statutory declarations.
The commission’s annual report shows that at the end of the reporting period, March 31, 2023, the commission recorded a 71 per cent compliance rate for public officials and a 92 per cent compliance rate for parliamentarians, with respect to the requirement to file a statutory declaration.
According to the commission, 77 of the 84 parliamentarians who were required to file a statutory declaration did so on or before March 31, 2023.
“Following the deadline date, four parliamentarians submitted their statutory declarations, and three remain outstanding,” the commission said.
It also said that one statutory notice was sent to a parliamentarian with respect to the submission of a statutory declaration as at December 31, 2021, which was deemed invalid. The parliamentarian submitted the statutory declaration within the 30- day period of the notice.
Meanwhile, 32 public officials were also referred for investigation.
The commission said that for the period under review, 158 complaints and information were received by the commission, of which 59 matters were referred to the Director of Investigation, 58 were closed, and 18 matters “are being kept-in-view”.