Opposition People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) parliamentarian, Juan Edghill has moved to pursue private criminal charges against APNU members of parliament who failed to submit Integrity Commission declarations from 2001-2015.
Edghill says that when that process is completed he will move to file similar charges against members of the Alliance for Change (AFC).
As a private citizen, the PPP/C member said that he was carrying out the intentions expressed by his party leader Bharrat Jagdeo and has since written to the Ministry of the Presidency’s (MOTP) Permanent Secretary, Abena Moore, seeking the information on parliamentarians who have breached the Integrity Commission Act pertaining to declarations.
“The intentions expressed by Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, to advance private criminal action against People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Parliamentarians who breached the provisions of the Integrity Commission Act, are being acted on,” a statement from Jagdeo’s office said yesterday.
Efforts yesterday to contact Chairman of the PNCR and Attorney General Basil Williams for comment proved futile as calls to his mobile were not immediately answered.
Although not a member of parliament in the period stated, this newspaper also reached out to General Secretary of the PNCR, Oscar Clarke, to no avail.
Edghill told Stabroek News that while he knows that no member of the PNCR or APNU have submitted personal declarations to the Integrity Commission for the 8th, 9th and 10th Parliament, he wants a formal response from the PS of MOTP. It is for this reason he said he wrote her.
“The names of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) parliamentarians of the 8th and 9th Parliament who failed to submit to the Integrity Commission of Guyana, the statutorily required submission of the schedule iii declaration forms (2) disclosing their Income, Assets and Liabilities of themselves and immediate family for the years 2001-2006 and 2006-2011,” are being sought, his letter to Moore stated.
The same is being sought for APNU MPs in the 10th Parliament who failed to submit to the Integrity Commission of Guyana the statutorily required submission.
Given that President David Granger was leader of the Opposition in the 10th Parliament, Edghill said that he won’t be spared court action if he broke the law and did not submit.
“Remember you are immune from things during your presidency but he was Leader of the Opposition then. Even as president you are required to declare to the Integrity Commission. The commissioners declare to the president. He is not exempt from making a declaration. His failure to declare being questioned here is not as president but as member of parliament,” Edghill said.
“But we will wait and let the Permanent Secretary state those who didn’t declare and if his name isn’t on the list, we take it from there,” he added.
Other APNU Members of Parliament include Keith Scott of the National Front Alliance, Jaipaul Sharma of the Justice for All Party , Sidney Allicock of the Guyana Action Party and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA).
Edghill warned members of the APNU+AFC coalition, saying they are not spared but that he was working in a systemic manner to the current date.
“We have started with this this for PNCR and APNU. We will proceed with AFC after. We don’t want them jumbled together. They are being treated separate and distinct from the PNC,” he noted.
“Once the information is available instructions will be given to our legal team to ensure that we satisfy all of the necessary requirements to facilitate private charges and that those charges be filed,” he asserted.
“We expect that we may not have to file charges because all of the APNU/PNCR are compliant because it was them who went to the people and told them they are transparent, that they are free from corruption, they are for good governance… we are asking the question and the answer will be known. We want that answer to be known so that the people will know if they were just talk and know if they were just bamboozled. We also expect a response from the Permanent Secretary very soon. We know that they have not been filing but we expect to get the official response,” he added.