Public officials charged for not declaring assets

ROSEAU, Dominica — Speaker of the House of Assembly Alix Boyd Knights and the leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Ron Green, are among 25 public officers charged under the Integrity in Public Office Act (IPO) for failing to declare their assets.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gene Pestaina, said the charges had been brought against the 25 officials, including parliamentarians, heads of government departments, managers of statutory corporations and boards and commissions “for failing to make declarations by a certain time” to the IPO Commission for the period 2009-10.

They are due to appear before a magistrate on November 15. If found guilty they are liable to pay a fine of EC$20 000 (US$7,407) or up to two years in jail.

“With respect to the provision made under Section 27 of the Act that it is an offence if you fail to file or if you just did not file, then you have committed an offence and that matter has been addressed. It is a legal provision and I am just following the dictates of the law,” Pestaina said.

But Boyd-Knights has threatened legal action against the members of the Integrity Commission and called for their resignation, insisting that she has filed her declaration by the March 31, 2010 deadline.

“I have a receipt from the Integrity Commission clearly showing that I filed on the 31st of March, 2010. I filed in the same format that I had used two times before. I have a receipt telling me that I filed, I know that I filed. Some persons are trying to put me in a bad light and I have to take the necessary action. I cannot let that pass like that,” she said.

However, Pestaina told reporters that the Speaker did not adhere to the existing rules under the Act.

“The information is that the Speaker filed what is called a statement of affairs, which did not amount to a declaration according to the act,” he said.

Among those charged by the DPP include the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Ronald Toulon, former Opposition Leader Earl Williams, former legislators Marcel Nicholas, Nicholls Esprit and Urban Baron.

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