PPP integrity body still to receive complaints

– six months after set up

Almost six months since the PPP established an internal integrity body, it is yet to receive a single complaint or conduct a single investigation, according to the party’s General Secretary Clement Rohee.

At the party’s weekly press briefing yesterday, Rohee said the party’s internal integrity commission would not become active until a party member brings forth information concerning corruption allegations. “The committee is not going out seeking information persons have to bring information to us,” he said matter-of-factly.

He also indicated that the commission was not likely to be investigating allegations of a lobby during the PPP’s 30th Congress last year against certain candidates being elected to theCentral Committee, including former president Bharrat Jagdeo

In October of last year, when the commission was formally established, it was described as an internal monitoring mechanism that would work along with the anti-corruption committee, which was established in 2001.

However, yesterday at Freedom House Rohee stated that “We don’t see that internal question of lobbying for candidates to go to congress as something to go before this committee.”

He added that it was the Executive Committee that would need to further examine the issue and after that decision was made, further steps would be taken. Stabroek News then asked why, after six months, the Executive Committee had not come to a conclusion as yet on the allegations to which Rohee responded that internal investigations were sensitive.

He also emphasised repeatedly that the commission was formulated to act on corruption allegations. However, in October last year he had said, “The commission will investigate allegations in relation to theft, bribery, [and] forgery. Further, the commission is mandated

to investigate misconduct by party members

who engage in activities unbecoming of a good member including defamation and sexual harassment/misconduct.”

Rohee said too that he could not recall ever saying that the commission would be investigating the alleged lobbying for candidates. However, when the commission was formally established, Rohee had publically stated that after the Congress the Central Committee had held deliberations, “where it was affirmed that additional steps be taken to establish a mechanism, to address allegations of misconduct and reinforce party discipline at all levels.”

Rohee was also asked about allegations of money going missing from the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO), the youth arm of the party, but he denied any knowledge of it. Stabroek News spoke with the Omar Sharif, the head of the PYO, and he said it was the first time he was hearing about the allegations. He said that the PYO gets funding and its bills are paid directly and that the organisation itself does not deal with cash so misappropriation of funds could not happen.

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