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Jan 11, 2022

Commission Chair: Transactions Involving Former Minister Can be Pursued Legally

The Commission of Inquiry report also detailed the sale of vehicles from the Government’s Vehicle Care Unit, laptops, and specially-made furniture sold off during the period under investigation. Chairman Marshalleck told us that the only transactions that the current Government can pursue legally would be one involving a former Minister.


Andrew Marshalleck, Chair, Commission of Inquiry

“The only aspect of what came out of the Commission’s inquiries that we’ve recommended be further investigated with a view to possible criminal prosecution would arise out of sale of the Tacoma to Hon. Hugo Patt and the relationship with Kelvin Li and the relationship, if any, that those had to the sale of Government lands to Kelvin Li. That would have been the most significant possibility where criminal behaviour could have taken place and it certainly needs to be looked into further.”


Marion Ali

“Is that your recommendation?”


Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck

“Yes. We’ve recommended that. We’ve also made a recommendation in relation to Government entering into contracts with Members of the National Assembly because that repercussions as to the qualification of Members of National Assembly to continue to sit in that Assembly. And, no regard seems to have been had to the fact that Members of the National Assembly were entering into contracts to buy vehicles from the Government. So, two things need to be done there. One, the authorities need to make a determination as to whether that type of contract is one of the types of contracts that has the effects of disqualifying a Member from sitting without the proper authorization. In the case of a Member of the House, if I remember correctly, you need a vote of the House to allow it to be done. And in relation to the Senate, I think you need the fiat of the Governor-General in order to do it. That’s the first thing, to make a determination whether that the type of contract that disqualifies Members from continuing to sit. And two, if it is, then you need to establish a mechanism for it to be monitored. There needs to be some sort of reporting mechanism to the Clerk of the National Assembly when these types of contracts are entered into, so that he can take appropriate steps in accordance with the Constitution. The issue doesn’t seem to have been addressed and it too needs to be addressed. What really needs to happen is that Government’s own procurement policies need to be followed. And if it is that there must be legislated for them to be followed, then that needs to happen. You see, the fact of the matter is that from all the way back to 2013, I believe, the Ministry of Economic Development published a Public Procurement Handbook as part of the public financial management system reform, which was the big push for reform in transparency and accountability in Government spending. So, consultants were hired, thousands of dollars were spent, reports were prepared and published, draft regulations were prepared for promulgation under the Finance and Audit Reform Act by an IMF working group, submitted to Government from as far back as 2018. So the Government has been aware of these problems and also aware of how to fix it from all the way back then. I’d go back to the Inception Report from the consultant was all the way back in 2010. So the question is: how is it that in 2020, these transgressions were still happened? And you have to question how in the face of all of that can all the rules, all the recommendations be ignored and none of it implemented or followed, and that is where I think there should be significant concern.”

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