15 Oct 2011

integrity questions

In response to Dana Seetahal’s column, I wrote:

I still question the IC's existence, given that it is a 'toothless' bulldog with no remit (or desire) to either (a) investigate nor (b) discipline for breach of the Integrity Act.

The latter is an especially important point. The IC has only powers of enquiry, akin to a Commission of Enquiry, in that it can only recommend. Dana could not be more incorrect in her first paragraph. I expected better.

Therefore its very existence is a bane on the country, a polished bit of window dressing for the country's dumb population and perhaps also for external bodies as the IMF for it to be seen as something is being done about the rampant corruption. Not only that, I see it as 'jobs for the boys' with the Commissioners and 'investigators' collecting a salary while knowing that their actions have about the same effect as a fart in the wind.

Ask yourself though. Since its existence began, what productive action has the IC taken? Even its own members are among those tarnished by corruption! Take deputy Chairwoman, Gladys Gafoor.

Subsequent to her husbands death, she continued to receive and encash cheques made out to him, under his name. That is a crime! And this went on for nearly 6 years, if I recollect correctly. A former judge not knowing the law, or a former judge knowingly breaking the law? Either way, it spits on the face of the population.

However, the powers that be significantly asked, whether she was entitled to the chauffeur's allowance. Convenient. The real question, the one whether she broke the law by cashing a cheque made out to a dead man, was never asked, so very conveniently.

The sooner this IC is disbanded and the Integrity Act repealed, the better for all of us. Neither makes sense, either in theory or in practice.