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TCI – Integrity Commission Statement on declarations and issuance of Certificates of Compliance

By Eugene Otuonye, Q.C.
Director, TCI Integrity Commission

1. Section 25 of the Integrity Commission Ordinance 2008 as amended (the Ordinance) requires all persons in public life, to file with the Integrity Commission (the Commission) declarations of their incomes, assets and liabilities (Sec.25 Declarations) once every two years on or before the 30 June of the year in which filing is required. The declarations for the current filing cycle covered the period April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2012. (2010-2012 cycle)

2. The deadline for the 2010-2012 cycle was 30 June, 2012. The Commission however extended this time mainly for the first time declarants from the statutory and other public bodies who became persons in public life as a result of the expansion of the list of persons in public life on March 2012.

3. First time declarants outside the 2010-2012 cycle are however required to file their Section 25 Declarations within 90 days of becoming persons in public life. Hon. Members of the House of Assembly (Hon Members) fell into this category, with the exception of those who had previously filed as persons in public life by virtue of their previous public posts. Having been elected and subsequently sworn in during November, 2012, these Hon. Members had until February 2013 to file their Section 25 Declarations.

4. In addition, all Hon. Members were required to file with the Commission, Statements of their Registrable interests in accordance with Section 36B of the Ordinance and Section 103 of the Constitution.

5. The Commission can now confirm that:

(i) As at March 31, 2013, a total of 308 persons in public life (including Hon. Members) were expected to file their Section 25 Declarations with the Commission.

(ii) Out of this number, 295 persons (including Hon. Members) or about 96% filed their declarations with the Commission. 13 persons (or 4%) are yet to file.

(iii) All the Hon. Members of the House (including the Ministers) have, in addition, filed their Statements of Registrable Interests with the Commission. As required by the law, these interests include particulars of directorship or investment in companies; contracts with government, beneficial interest in land, funds to which a member contributes; sources of income; political, trade or professional associations to which a member belongs, etc.

Examination of Declarations and Issuance of Certificates

6. In accordance with Section 13 of the Integrity Commission Ordinance, the Commission began to examine these declarations shortly after the initial deadline of June 30, 2012. Following the first-phase examinations of these declarations, the Commission can further confirm that:

(i) The Certificates of Compliance have now been issued to 124 persons in public life out of 295 declarants that filed. The Commission is communicating with these persons in writing as to when and where to collect their Certificates of Compliance.

(ii) The examination of other declarations is an on-going process and more Certificates of Compliance will be issued in due course as the Commission is satisfied that full and true disclosures have been made. No adverse inference should therefore be drawn at this stage against a person to whom no Certificate of Compliance has yet been issued. Indeed the Commission will not make any adverse decision (including refusal of Certificate of Compliance) without giving the declarant affected the opportunity to be heard.

7. With respect to Statements of Registrable Interests filed by Hon Members of the House, these are also being examined, after which they will be compiled in a Register called Register of Interests and published next month, May, 2013. A copy of the Register will be made available for public inspection at the Commission’s office during normal office hours. The Register will also be made available for public inspection at the House of Assembly during every sitting of the House.

8. Confidentiality of Section 25 Declarations: Unlike Statement of Registrable Interests, Section 25 declarations of incomes, assets and liabilities by persons in public life are strictly confidential and not for the public domain. A breach of this confidentiality obligation is a criminal offence with severe penalties. The Commission therefore reiterates its commitment to continue its strict enforcement of these confidentiality obligations as set out in the Ordinance.

9. Failure to file, etc: Failure, without reasonable excuse, to file a declaration or filing an incomplete or untrue declaration is a criminal offence. The Commission is also committed to enforcing the provisions of the Ordinance in this respect.

Eugene Otuonye QC, Director of the Integrity Commission stated that “The Commission is indeed pleased to note that, although the number of persons in public life increased by about 100% during the current cycle, there was more than 95% compliance rate. This high compliance rate clearly demonstrates the commitment to integrity, honesty and good faith in public life by the people of Turks and Caicos Islands. The Commission therefore commends all persons in public life in TCI, and is grateful for the continuing public confidence in and support for work of the Commission as an anti-corruption agency”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Eugene Otuonye, Q.C.
Director, TCI Integrity Commission

1. Section 25 of the Integrity Commission Ordinance 2008 as amended (the Ordinance) requires all persons in public life, to file with the Integrity Commission (the Commission) declarations of their incomes, assets and liabilities (Sec.25 Declarations) once every two years on or before the 30 June of the year in which filing is required. The declarations for the current filing cycle covered the period April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2012. (2010-2012 cycle)

2. The deadline for the 2010-2012 cycle was 30 June, 2012. The Commission however extended this time mainly for the first time declarants from the statutory and other public bodies who became persons in public life as a result of the expansion of the list of persons in public life on March 2012.

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3. First time declarants outside the 2010-2012 cycle are however required to file their Section 25 Declarations within 90 days of becoming persons in public life. Hon. Members of the House of Assembly (Hon Members) fell into this category, with the exception of those who had previously filed as persons in public life by virtue of their previous public posts. Having been elected and subsequently sworn in during November, 2012, these Hon. Members had until February 2013 to file their Section 25 Declarations.

4. In addition, all Hon. Members were required to file with the Commission, Statements of their Registrable interests in accordance with Section 36B of the Ordinance and Section 103 of the Constitution.

5. The Commission can now confirm that:

(i) As at March 31, 2013, a total of 308 persons in public life (including Hon. Members) were expected to file their Section 25 Declarations with the Commission.

(ii) Out of this number, 295 persons (including Hon. Members) or about 96% filed their declarations with the Commission. 13 persons (or 4%) are yet to file.

(iii) All the Hon. Members of the House (including the Ministers) have, in addition, filed their Statements of Registrable Interests with the Commission. As required by the law, these interests include particulars of directorship or investment in companies; contracts with government, beneficial interest in land, funds to which a member contributes; sources of income; political, trade or professional associations to which a member belongs, etc.

Examination of Declarations and Issuance of Certificates

6. In accordance with Section 13 of the Integrity Commission Ordinance, the Commission began to examine these declarations shortly after the initial deadline of June 30, 2012. Following the first-phase examinations of these declarations, the Commission can further confirm that:

(i) The Certificates of Compliance have now been issued to 124 persons in public life out of 295 declarants that filed. The Commission is communicating with these persons in writing as to when and where to collect their Certificates of Compliance.

(ii) The examination of other declarations is an on-going process and more Certificates of Compliance will be issued in due course as the Commission is satisfied that full and true disclosures have been made. No adverse inference should therefore be drawn at this stage against a person to whom no Certificate of Compliance has yet been issued. Indeed the Commission will not make any adverse decision (including refusal of Certificate of Compliance) without giving the declarant affected the opportunity to be heard.

7. With respect to Statements of Registrable Interests filed by Hon Members of the House, these are also being examined, after which they will be compiled in a Register called Register of Interests and published next month, May, 2013. A copy of the Register will be made available for public inspection at the Commission’s office during normal office hours. The Register will also be made available for public inspection at the House of Assembly during every sitting of the House.

8. Confidentiality of Section 25 Declarations: Unlike Statement of Registrable Interests, Section 25 declarations of incomes, assets and liabilities by persons in public life are strictly confidential and not for the public domain. A breach of this confidentiality obligation is a criminal offence with severe penalties. The Commission therefore reiterates its commitment to continue its strict enforcement of these confidentiality obligations as set out in the Ordinance.

9. Failure to file, etc: Failure, without reasonable excuse, to file a declaration or filing an incomplete or untrue declaration is a criminal offence. The Commission is also committed to enforcing the provisions of the Ordinance in this respect.

Eugene Otuonye QC, Director of the Integrity Commission stated that “The Commission is indeed pleased to note that, although the number of persons in public life increased by about 100% during the current cycle, there was more than 95% compliance rate. This high compliance rate clearly demonstrates the commitment to integrity, honesty and good faith in public life by the people of Turks and Caicos Islands. The Commission therefore commends all persons in public life in TCI, and is grateful for the continuing public confidence in and support for work of the Commission as an anti-corruption agency”