Not us! – PNP distances itself from IC probe into illicit enrichment
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The People’s National Party (PNP) has sought to separate itself from a probe being carried out by the Integrity Commission into six parliamentarians who are being investigated for illicit enrichment.
The investigation was revealed in July during the Integrity Commission’s annual report for the 2022/2023 reporting period, which was tabled in the House of Parliament.
The six have allegedly breached Sections 14 (5) (a) of the Corruption Prevention Act. According to the provision, illicit enrichment happens when 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.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Opposition said that all of its parliamentarians, including its senators, have confirmed that they have not been approached by the Integrity Commission in regard to the investigation.
“The Party leadership has contacted all current members individually, and is satisfied that none on our side has received communication from the Integrity Commission indicating that they are subjects of investigation for unjust enrichment,” the party said.
While declaring its innocence, the PNP has called on the members of the Government and the Prime Minister to inform the country whether any of its members are being investigated for illicit enrichment by the Integrity Commission.
“While our side of the aisle has confirmed our status, we call upon the Members of Parliament from the Government, including the Prime Minister, to follow suit and openly inform the country whether any of their members are being investigated by the Integrity Commission. It is imperative for the public’s confidence that there is transparency on this matter,” the PNP said.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding concurred stating, “The Prime Minister must not hide the truth from the people. Who are the six? The country needs to know. Don’t hide it, tell it!”
The Opposition also asked that the parliamentarians who are being investigated forgo official duties during the investigation process.
“It is essential that we maintain the integrity of our governance structures and ensure that those under investigation are not in positions that may compromise the impartiality of the process. Additionally, any parliamentarian under investigation for illicit enrichment should withdraw their membership from the Integrity Commission Oversight Committee and/or the Joint Select Committee reviewing the Integrity Commission Act because of the obvious conflict of interest,” the PNP demanded.
The party added: “We cannot have government ministers and representatives overseeing the country’s resources while under investigation for possible corruption. This goes beyond party lines; it’s about upholding the principles of good governance and accountability that all elected officials should be held to.”