President fails to declare assets to Integrity Commission
…followed by 716 public officials
The Integrity Commission had flagged a number of public officials earlier this year for failing to make their declarations, and President David Granger is one of the defaulters, having breached the stipulated deadline of May 20, 2019.
The agency recently informed that all public officials were required to make these submissions, in compliance with the Integrity Commission Act.
On the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, the President explained that he has not yet submitted his declaration but has made contact with the Commission.
“I’m in touch with the Integrity Commission. I have written to them. I have not submitted all of my declarations. It is taking some time but I am in touch with them and the Commission has heard from me,” he stated.
Reports also surfaced that some Cabinet members are also lagging behind with regards to their submissions. But President Granger assured that there is a commitment by all Cabinet members to comply. As of now, he displayed concerns over this matter but could not account for the tardiness on the part of these Ministers.
“I am concerned and as I pointed out, my own declaration is being prepared and I do not have a reason why others have not been prepared. I’ve had some challenges over that period of time but I’m actually working on it and the Commission is aware of my interest in ensuring that they are submitted as quickly as possible,” the Head of State told media operatives.
He added, “As far as the Cabinet is concerned, the general rule is that we should all comply. It is just a matter of time. Some of the details may have taken some member’s time. I cannot say if all of them are compliant but that is the policy of Cabinet that every Minister should comply.”
Just a few days ago, the Integrity Commission issued a notice which requested persons to make their declarations.
The document stated, “The Integrity Commission hereby notifies all specified public officers of its inventory update. This updating process relates to the updates of the 2019 Inventory. The inventory concerns specific public officers required to submit declarations. This is in accordance to Schedule 1 of the Integrity Commission Act, No 20 of 1997”.
In addition, it noted that all heads of public officers are required to submit to the Commission; the names, designation, physical addresses, email addresses and contact numbers of public officers.
These documents, the Commission said, can be sent to its Secretariat on Church Road and Fifth Avenue, Subryanville, Georgetown, and also via email.
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.
Some 716 officials were called out for failing to make declarations, as mandated by Section 19 of the Integrity Commission Act.
Among the defaulters on the list were 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, Egbert Field; CEO of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn; Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority, Leslie Sobers; General Manager of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, Sherod Duncan; CEO of the Guyana Office for Investment, 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; the Cyril Potter College of Education; the Bureau of Statistics; the Dependent Pension Fund; the Environmental Protection Agency; the GPHC; the Guyana Gold Board; the Guyana Oil Company; and the Guyana Power and Light Inc, among others.
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.
Back then, Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Kumar Duraisami stated that there were 716 public officials who did not submit 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.