Under fire Superintendent of Police, Tafawa Pierre has for the first time publicly addressed concerns raised over his holding the post of Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) while being the husband of a senior government minister.
Supt Pierre has been placed under heavy scrutiny by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and deemed a “politically-exposed” person who should not hold the post due to his marriage to Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre.
The FIU is responsible for vetting and investigating persons doing business with Grenada’s passport-selling scheme in which Minister Pierre was at one time the Line Minister for the programme.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the senior police officer said that despite of his position, the FIU “will do what we supposed to do” in any kind of perceived acts of corruption taking place in the country.
According to Supt. Pierre, the FIU has to follow the law in carrying out any investigation although everyone has connections of some kind.
“… We are in a small society. Our activities in the FIU are guided by the law and we are not a power onto ourselves. So, when it comes to our work, we do our work guided by the law, guided by all the other principles that go with that”, he said.
“The FIU is part of an international organisation called the Edmond Group and we are steered by all the articles of that group and therefore do what we supposed to do, as we have been doing”, he added.
Head of the Integrity Commission, Lady Anande Trotman-Joseph, who is also under scrutiny as “a Politically Exposed Person” as the wife of Attorney-General, Dr. Lawrence Joseph also addressed the issue.
She said that half of Grenada’s population can be considered as PEPs given the small size of the society but is public officers who hold high positions are more targeted “as high risk individuals”.
“We have had to look at what it means to be a politically-exposed person and when we look at Grenada’s definition, it means that anybody who might be in public office which might even include, this commission, the head of statutory boards, whether you’re a PS, a police officer at a particular level and so on, they are described (as) politically exposed.
“I am saying this because it means that let’s say an Inspector of Police who heads a particular department is deemed a PEP but every Friday evening he goes to play Dominoes with a group of guys and they clink glasses because they are part of this Domino Group and this is just an example – they become PEPs.
According to Lady Anande it is unfortunate but the FIU is always targeted as a PEP.
“We keep (targeting) the Superintendant and his department because they may be high risk….”, she said.
The female Integrity boss declared that all high risk persons are required under the law “to come in and declare (their assets) to us so they don’t go under the radar for example like some other public officers”.
“We as Commissioners, we have to declare every single year, so we know what is involved”, she remarked.
Lady Trotman stressed that even the nation’s Parliamentarians are accountable under the law have to make asset declarations.
“…As I said about half of Grenada, we are PEPs just by being friends, just by playing Domino or by sitting next to the person at the hair dressing salon and saying hello every Saturday – all of those kinds of situations has PEPed us up because we are so small an island….”, she told reporters.
Lady Anande reiterated that all persons in high positions, particularly in the public service will not escape scrutiny from the commission.