159 public officials fail to make declarations to Integrity Commission
…politicians top defaulters list
Pursuant to Section 19 of the Integrity Commission Act, the Integrity Commission published the names of the 159 public officials who failed to submit their declarations as of December 31, 2018.
The Integrity Commission was established with the aim of improving the public’s confidence in the integrity of persons in public office by ensuring that they submit their declarations in compliance with the Integrity Commission Act. However, over the years, the Commission would have to publish the names of delinquent public officials in an effort to have them make their declarations.
The list of delinquent public officials was made public in Saturday’s edition of a local newspaper with 134 Councillors from the various Regional Democratic Councils across the country, including Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Executive Member, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and controversial Alliance For Change (AFC) executive Abel Seetaram.
A breakdown of the regional officials showed Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) being the most delinquent, with 31 officials, including Sarabo-Halley; Chairman at JBN Investments and General Services and AFC Member, Aseef Balmacoon; Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Board Member and PNCR Executive, Ryan Belgrave; and controversial PNC member Shondel Hope.
Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) was the only region with no defaulting officers but same could not be said for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) with PNC Executive Cherryl Gould – who recently received a Medal of Service from President David Granger – leading the list. Following Gould is the Assistant Administrator of the Leonora Diagnostic Centre and also PNC Councillor, Kathlene Armstrong; along with Leguan Island’s AFC member, Dr Kamal Roy Narine.
Along with the Regional Councillors, the list included officials from the Audit Office, Bank of Guyana and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
The acting Audit Director Audrey Badley along with five Audit Managers were flagged. The list of noncompliant officials from that constitutional body also included the Information Systems Manager, Works and Structure Manager and two former Audit Managers. Central Bank Governor, Dr Gobin Ganga was also on the list.
When contacted, Dr Ganga told Guyana Times that the failure to submit his declaration to the Commission was as a result him awaiting personal statements. He noted that the work of the Commission ends in June every year while the fiscal year ends in December; hence, the reason for the delay. He assured that the Commission would receive his submission on Monday.
“As you know, the Commission works from June to June and most of the statements comes in at the end of the year so that was the delay in me submitting my declaration. I am in receipt of those statements now and will be submitting it to them (the Integrity Commission) by Monday which will put me in full compliance,” Dr Ganga said. Ganga is among some of the officials who are in the process of complying with the Integrity Commission.
At the Central Bank also, the defaulters included Banking Manager, Joseph Lall, Chief Accountant, Maurice Munro; acting Director Leslyn King-Grenville; and Insurance Director Tracy Gibson.
Meanwhile, over at the Forestry Commission, among those noncompliant officers are the Communications Manager, Sonya Reece; Technical Adviser, Godfrey Marshall; Assistant Commissioner of Forests, Gavin Agard; and Legal Officer/Corporate Secretary, Jacy Archibald.
Over the years several Members of Parliament and other public officials have been flagged by the Integrity Commission for their failure to declare their assets and liabilities but none of their names appeared on the latest list.
The Integrity Commission Act was assented to on September 24, 1997. The Act provides for the establishment of the Integrity Commission and make provisions for the purpose of securing the integrity of persons in public life. The Commission has the power to do anything for the proper performance of its function and in discharging its function; it is not subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.
The Commission has the authority to regulate its own procedure and may make rules for that purpose.
Public offices and positions listed under Schedule 1 of the Commission’s Act should disclose their financial assets and liabilities on or before June 30 each year.
When a public officer ceases to be a person in public life, he/she should disclose his/her assets and liabilities to the Commission within 30 days from the date that individual cease to be a person in public life.