Office of the Integrity Commission
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.
Four days of intense training hosted by the Integrity Commission at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in Grenada, ended last week Thursday with presentation of certificates to the participants.
The training was the third in the annual “Virtual Centre of Excellence Series - Senior Leadership and Management Training Programme”, which brings together integrity commissions and anti-corruption bodies from across the region.
The focus was on global best practices for public sector management systems.
Lead facilitator was Dr Roger Koranteng, Interim Advisor and Head of Public Sector Governance, Commonwealth Secretariat. Dr Koranteng is the 2018 Winner of the Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award, given by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center. He covered issues such as Conflict of Interest Management in keeping with International Best Practices, Addressing Weaknesses in Organisational Governance, Ethics and Moral Conduct and Global Trends in Anti-Corruption Deterrence.