Integrity Commission wants senior cops, SOCU, SARA officials to declare assets

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The Integrity Commission is looking to widen the list of public officials who are required to declare their assets to include several top police officers and others.

This is aimed at stemming corruption and improving public integrity, according to Chairman of the Commission, Kumar Doraisami.

Among those the Commission wants to bring under its radar are Deputy Commissioners of Police, Divisional Commanders, Assistant Commissioners, Divisional Crime and Traffic Chiefs, along with officials from the Land, Deeds and Commercial registries.

“These are people in positions who can be susceptible somehow to people approaching them and we have heard all kinds of validations,” Doraisami said.

Currently, only the Commissioner of Police is required to declare his assets.

Additionally, Doraisami disclosed that the Commission will be making recommendations to the Prime Minister to include members of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Financial Intelligence Agency.

Asked how soon these recommendations will be made, the Chairman said that some of the recommendations are already completed and “as soon as things in Government smooth out, somehow, we will make the recommendations to the Minister and he will…move on with that.”

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning at Herdmanston Lodge, he added that “people holding public office must be accountable to the people who pay them.”

Since its establishment one year ago, a total of 590 public officials have submitted their declarations while 716 are still outstanding.

“We are asking the public officers, it is in their interest to make these declarations,” the Chairman said.

Doraisami noted that the excuses for non-submission mainly surround persons’ ignorance of the Commission’s work.

The Chairman noted that the Commission, which is tasked with ensuring there is honesty in public office, has published five lists of defaulters thus far. The lists for the Ministry of Finance and the Judiciary are left to be published and the Chairman noted that the Commission is in no position to use discretion in publishing names.

“If they (defaulters) think that they ought not to make their declarations, then they can put the challenge in the court,” he noted.

To go after defaulting officers, the Commission is looking to hire approximately five investigative officers. The cost of hiring the additional persons has not been determined.

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