Members of Statutory Bodies to declare assets

Members of Boards or Governing Bodies of Statutory Corporations along with Chief Executives and Deputy Chief Executives of these Bodies are next in line to declare their assets before the Integrity Commission which is headed by retired High Court Judge, Monica Joseph.

Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade who delivered the Throne Speech during a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament last week Wednesday to signal the commencement of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament said very soon the Commission will extend an invitation for declarations from Statutory Bodies.

The Governor General disclosed that to date, the Integrity Commission has already received 464 declarations.

The Integrity in Public Life Act was passed in Parliament in August 2013.

Under the Act, a total of 33 categories of civil servants including members of the Commission, Parliamentarians, Judges and Magistrates are required to declare their assets.

However, Magistrate Jerry Seales who presides over the Traffic Court in St. George’s has not complied with the notice coming from the Integrity Commission to declare his assets.

Where a person in public life fails to file a declaration or without reasonable cause, fails to furnish particulars in accordance with section 35, the Commission shall publish such fact in the Gazette and at least one weekly newspaper in circulation in Grenada.

While the Commission has the right, under the Act, to take certain disciplinary action against anyone who refuses to disclose his assets, Magistrate Seales is contending that under the Constitution, only the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC), and the Governor General acting pursuant to the advice of the JLSC can take any disciplinary action against a Magistrate.

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), the Commission may, in any particular case, for good cause, extend the time for the furnishing of a declaration for a period not exceeding three months.

The Commission may, at anytime, after the publication made pursuant to subsection (3), make an ex parte application to the court for an order directing the person in public life to comply with the provisions of the Act and the court may, in addition to making such an order, impose such conditions as it thinks fit.

A person who fails to comply with a direction of the Court pursuant to subsection (4), commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding sixty thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.

Magistrate Seales has retained former Attorney-General, Jimmy Bristol to represent him in the matter challenging the jurisdiction of the Integrity Commission.

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