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Integrity Commission scores victory in Ruel Edwards case

28 June 2019, St George’s:  The High Court in St George’s, Grenada, on Friday dismissed all claims brought against the Integrity Commission in the Sandiford Ruel Edwards vs the Integrity Commission case.

High Court Judge, His Lordship Godfrey Smith, handed down his judgment giving victory to the Commission, and dismissing Mr Edwards’ claim that the Commission is not legally empowered to launch an investigation on its own volition.

Mr Edwards had challenged the authority of the commission to investigate operations of the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB).

The Commission had announced in August 2018, that it would be investigating operations at the MNIB for the period 2012 to 2018, following media reports that alleged impropriety at the state-owned corporation.

Mr Edwards who served as Chairman of the Board and later Chief Executive Officer during the period, engaged the services of attorney-at-law Cajeton Hood to challenge the Commission’s authority to undertake the investigation.

In his judgment, Justice Smith said that the Commission is not only empowered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, but is given sweeping powers under the Act to investigate any public entity where there are allegations of impropriety, without a complaint from a third part.

He cited section 12(2)(c) of the Act which gives the Commission wide powers of inquiry in exercising its functions.

This section provides that the Commission “(c) shall have the power to authorise investigations, summon witnesses, require the production of any reports, documents or other relevant information, and to do all such things as it considers necessary or expedient for the purpose of carrying out its functions pursuant to the provisions of this Act”.

Mr Edwards was represented by Cajeton Hood, and was joined by Gilbert Peterson SC, from Trinidad and Tobago in the matter, while the Commission was represented by Douglas Mendes SC, from Trinidad and Tobago, with Ruggles Ferguson from Ciboney Chambers in Grenada.

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The purpose of the Commission, in accordance with the Integrity in Public Life Act No.24 of 2013, is to improve governance through ensuring integrity in public life, to obtain declarations of assets, liabilities, income and interests in relation to persons in public life and to give effect to the provisions of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, to which Grenada is a signatory.
 

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