17 Opposition MPs fail to submit declarations to Integrity Commission – Jagdeo
Despite a four-month extension in 2022 for the submission of declarations by public officials to the Integrity Commission, 828 submissions are reportedly still outstanding.
General Secretary of the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), Dr. Bharat Jagdeo, disagreed on Thursday that this was the highest number of delinquencies over the last five years, pointing out that there were three years under the former APNU+AFC government when no declarations were submitted.
In urging greater transparency, Jagdeo said he supports any ongoing consideration by the Integrity Commissions to publish the names of defaulters.
“I support that wholeheartedly. We are not here to support any public officer who doesn’t submit their declarations.
“That is the law and we support fully the publication of all of the names of people in default,” Jagdeo said.
The Commission had pointed out that included in the 828 defaulters for 2022, are 17 Members of Parliament (MPs). There is an additional 104 people from ministries and 493 from agencies and departments.
But Jagdeo has assured that all PPP/C MPs submitted their declarations for 2022 and said those 17 defaulters are no doubt from the Opposition benches.
“I called Gail Teixeira [Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance] because we made it clear… she said to me that all PPP members submitted…so the 17 must be from the other side,” Jagdeo added.
To date, no action was taken against the defaulters but the Integrity Commission has promised to take the next step in the process as set out in law which could see names being published.
The final step, if declarations are still not received, would be to seek prosecution of the defaulter.
Having expired on February 21, 2021, a new board of the Integrity Commission was sworn in on May 2022 by Principal Magistrate, Judy Latchman at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.
The five new members of the Integrity Commission are Dr Jocelin Kim Kyte-Thomas; Mrs Chandra Gajraj, Mohamed Ispahani Haniff, Hardesh Tewari, and Wayne Bowman.
The Integrity Commission was put in place to improve public confidence in the integrity of persons in public life by administering and enforcing the Integrity Commission Act which comprises the Code of Conduct, and Declarations of income, assets, and liabilities.