Another 163 officials fail to make declarations to Integrity Commission

…GPL, GNBA, GO-Invest, GCAA, GLSC Heads among defaulters

The Integrity Commission has published the names of 163 public officials who failed to make declarations as mandated by Section 19 of the Integrity Commission Act.
The list of delinquent public officials was made public on Saturday in The Official Gazette of Guyana dated March 9, 2019. Among the defaulters on the list are General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, Rawlston Adams; Chief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), George Lewis; Director General of Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Egbert Field; CEO of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn; Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leslie Sobers; General Manager of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, Sherod Duncan; CEO of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Owen Verwey and CEO of Guyana Power and Light, Albert Gordon among others.
A breakdown of the list includes officials from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA); Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE); Bureau of Statistics; Dependent Pension Fund; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); GPHC; Guyana Gold Board; GuyOil and GPL among others.
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. Under the law, any public officer who fails to comply with the Commission is liable upon summary conviction, to a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for a period of not less than six months or more than one year.
Just over two weeks ago, Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Kumar Duraisami stated that there were 716 public officials who have not submitted their declarations to the Commission. As such, five lists of the various categories of public officials were published.
The Chairman noted that while there is a need for awareness on the Integrity Commission, most public officials have a general idea of the Commission’s functions and their obligations. His contention was that there are some individuals who are willfully withholding declaring their assets to the Commission.
He noted that there are some defaulting officers, particularly in the Judiciary, who are questioning whether the function of the Commission is infringing on their constitutional rights by publishing their names.
“I am in no position or this Commission is in no position to use a discretion as to whether or not we should publish the names. If they think that they ought not to make their declarations to the Commission, then they can go the court and say ‘my position is secured by the Constitution and I’m not obliged or obligated to submit to the Commission’… This Commission has no discretion. We will have to publish their names if they don’t submit,” the Chairman insisted.
The Integrity Commission Act was assented to on September 24, 1997. The Act provides for the establishment of the Integrity Commission and makes 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 also has the authority to regulate its own procedure and may make rules for that purpose.