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OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM ADOPTS JAMAICA REPORT

At its Twenty-Fourth Meeting, held September 8 Ė 12, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the Jamaica report on the implementation of this treaty in the context of the Fourth Round of Review of the Mechanism.

A significant portion of the report focused on examination of those oversight bodies in Jamaica with the responsibility for the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of acts of corruption. Accordingly, the report examines the Office of the Contractor General, the Integrity Commission, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption and the Auditor Generalís Department. The progress made by Jamaica in relation to the recommendations of the First Round of the MESICIC was also reviewed. 

The examination was carried out taking into account Jamaicaís response to a questionnaire, information gathered by the Technical Secretariat, and, as a new and important source of information, an on-site visit conducted April 1 - 3, 2014. This visit was carried out by a team comprising of El Salvador and Grenada, as well as members of the MESICIC Technical Secretariat. During that visit, the review team met with representatives of the aforementioned government institutions as well with civil society organizations, the private sector, professional associations, academics, and researchers.

Some of the recommendations formulated to Jamaica for its consideration in connection with the aforementioned bodies are, among others, the following:

Regarding the oversight bodies generally, provide the proper resources needed for the proper performance of their functions. Moreover, in order to strengthen the work of the Office of the Contractor General, the Integrity Commission and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, address the lack of prosecutions being carried out by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for corruption and corruption related offences.

With regard to the Office of the Contractor General, consider carrying out institutional and legislative reforms necessary to separate the National Contracts Commission from the Office of the Contractor General; provide this oversight body with the power and authority to halt or regularize a contract or licence award that exhibits signs of corruption, irregularity or impropriety; and update the sanctions in place for breaches of the Contractor General Act..

Regarding the Integrity Commission, consider establishing a website for this oversight body; establish and implement an awareness building program to inform individuals on the manner they may submit complaints respecting alleged acts of corruption carried out by Parliamentarians; and consider providing the oversight body with the ability to impose administrative sanctions for the late or non-filing of a declaration by a Parliamentarian. 

Pertaining to the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, consider adopting a timetable for the implementation of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption as the designated authority under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2011; implement an electronic system for the submission of declarations by public servants; and implement a register of declared interests in order to help identify potential conflicts of interest between a public servantís private interests and his or her public duty.

With respect to the Auditor Generalís Department, consider concluding the approval process by the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Cabinet regarding the proposed new organizational structure for this oversight body; consider amending the Financial Administration and Audit Act so as to eliminate the three year statute of limitation for the recovery of a surcharge; and allow the Auditor General to report to the Office of the Contractor General any procurement breaches it discovers when carrying out an audit.

With regard to the follow-up on the recommendations formulated to Jamaica in the First Round of this Mechanism, the following advances are noted: the adoption of the Judicial Guidelines of 2012 as well as the enactment of the Financial Management Regulations, 2011.

Some of the recommendations still pending from the First Round or have been reformulated address issues such as: encouraging the implementation of a code of ethics for Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, including mechanisms for violations; develop provisions that limit participation by former public servants in situations that could involve taking undue advantage of oneís status as a former public servant for an appropriate period of time; establish reporting obligations for those public officials and employees who are currently not required to report to appropriate authorities, acts of corruption in the performance of public functions of which they are aware; and make public on the Access to Information Unit website, its annual and quarterly reports.

Jamaica also provided information, for inclusion in the report, a best practice for conducting an audit that ensures that the information provided is comprehensive, accurate and relevant, as contained in an Audit Procedural Manual.

During this Twenty-Fourth Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Belize, Grenada, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname. The Jamaica report adopted by the Committee, as well as those of the aforementioned countries, is available here

           


For more information, please visit the Anti-corruption Portal of the Americas.

Edition Nį 188 - September 2014

What is the MESICIC?

The Mechanism For Follow-up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, known as MESICIC for its Spanish acronym, is a tool to support the development of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption through cooperation between States Parties.

Read more hereÖ


 

 

 

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