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Integrity moving to avert corruption

Scrutiny of statutory bodies, State enterprises coming
Published: 
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Ken Gordon

The Integrity Commission is moving in the new year to avert corruption in T&T. Chairman of the Integrity Commission Kenneth Gordon announced the new initiative during his first official news conference since assuming office on November 1. The briefing was held at the commission’s office, Unit Trust Corporation Building, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Gordon said: “In January 2012, we hope to commence a programme to systematically examine statutory bodies and State enterprises in order to determine whether there exist satisfactory policies and procedures to ensure corruption will be prevented and detected and the public funds utilised efficiently.”

He said if the initiative was successfully implemented next year “we would find ourselves in a position where we would perhaps avert a number of things that have been happening.” He said there was a provision under the Integrity in Public Act Life Act for the commission “to monitor State enterprises to ensure they are operating efficiently.” He stressed that was one of the critical initiatives to be addressed next year.

Gordon said that was even more critical, “particularly at this time when as you know we had an unfortunate reading in the corruption perception index and we must do everything possible to correct that.” He also said the time had come for the commission to formulate a more cost effective mechanism for the filing of declarations by public officials, as required by law. He said the current mechanism was not cost effective.

“Our object now is to make this a lot more cost effective,” Gordon added.  He said work was advanced with the new declaration form, which has to be approved before it could be implemented. He said the proposed system would allow for all the details to be submitted in the first year of filing but in subsequent years only new information would be required to be filed. “Our hope is that we can speedily get the required approvals to change not the information that is held but the frequency in which that information is repeated,” Gordon said.

He also spoke of the need to complete the regulations for the Act. He said that matter also would be addressed in the new year. Gordon said about 38 complaints filed at the commission were expected to remain unresolved by the end of the year. Describing it as “bad news”, Gordon said there was a backlog of 3,000 declarations in T&T. He said, based on his observations, there was no need for increased financial and other resources to run the commission.