The Office of the Integrity Commission reminds public servants that they are mandated to declare any gifts in excess of $500 given to them in good gesture from any foreign dignitary.
Part (5) of the Integrity in Public Life Act addresses the report of gifts and specifies that if a person in public life accepts a gift or reward by a foreign dignitary, he/she shall report to the commission in the prescribed manner within 7 days of receipt of the gift.
Integrity Commission Chair Lady Anande Trotman Joseph says this procedure is crucial in ensuring that corruption in public life is eradicated. The Commission Chair said they will be embarking on an initiative to ensure that public officers comply with the regulation by maintaining transparency and accountability.
“No public official here in Grenada can receive a gift that is valued more than EC$500 without declaring it to the Accountant General’s office of the Integrity Commission. A determination will be made if it is more than $500 whether that public that public officer can keep it.”
Trotman Joseph said the commission will continue to work with public officers to ensure that integrity in public life is maintained. “We have had public bodies and ministries coming to us; the customs department, for example, has come to us and all of their new recruits have been trained by the Integrity Commission and we are continuing to work with them to sensitise them, do capacity building. Right now, their system is one that we are working on to identify gaps and areas that make them more susceptible to corruption and fraudulent activities.”
The Integrity in Public Life Act has identified 2 instances where gifts can be accepted by public officers. The act states that a person in public life may accept a gift or reward from a community organisation on a social occasion or from a foreign diplomat where the person in public life has reasonable grounds to believe that the refusal of such gift may offend the foreign diplomat.
Gifts or rewards that exceed the $500 limit, and also those determined not to be kept as personal property by persons in public life, will be housed in the Gift Registry of the Accountant General’s Office.
Meanwhile, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Superintendent Tafawa Pierre led a team to the just concluded 4th Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) in Turks and Caicos under the theme ‘Counting the real cost of corruption – Engaging everyone in the fight.’