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Sep 20, 2017

D.P.P. Wants More from Integrity Commission on Late Declarations

Earlier this year, the Integrity Commission’s decision to require declarations filed dating back only to 2016, not to 2012 as originally asked for, raised ire from the Opposition, which questioned what Government members may be trying to hide. Today, the Commission released a statement announcing that it has informed those in public life, presently limited to members of the National Assembly and of the city and town councils, of their duty to file a declaration of financial affairs dating to the thirty-first of December, according to the Prevention of Corruption Act of 2007. Under Section fourteen of that act, a notice dated the eleventh of July, 2017, and published in the Government Gazette, lists names of those who have failed to file that declaration, and adds that the Commission has submitted those names to the Director of Public Prosecutions.  The list in the Gazette obtained by News Five lists ten persons under members of the National Assembly; only Orange Walk South representative Jose Mai, and Government Senator Macario Coy remain as members of that body. The others include former senators Patrick Andrews, Marco Pech, Gerardo Sosa and Lisel Alamilla and former representatives Mark King, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, Ivan Ramos and Ramiro Ramirez. All nine municipal councils have listed current and former members who are named, including former deputy Mayor of Belize City Eric Chang and councilor Roger Espejo and the former mayors of Dangriga and San Pedro as well as current mayors of Orange Walk – Kevin Bernard – and Punta Gorda, Fern Gutierrez.  When we contacted D.P.P. Cheryl-Lynn Vidal for comment, she confirmed that she “had received a list of names from the Commission, but nothing more. She indicated that she thereafter wrote to the Chairman requesting a full report in relation to each of the persons listed as, in her view, is contemplated by the Act. She went on to say that while she received confirmation that her correspondence had been passed on to the Chairman, to date she has not received a response to her request for supporting evidence.”

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