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Opposition joins call for review of Integrity Commission's composition

Dr. Peter Phillips
 
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips has joined the call for a review of the composition of the Integrity Commission.
 
The law requires two retired judges and the Auditor General to be named among the five commissioners.
 
However, there have been questions about whether it is appropriate for the Auditor General to be a member of the Commission given that the body could be required to examine matters that office has also investigated.
 
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Dr. Phillips said the issue should be placed on the agenda for review. 
 
"It's a new commission that has been established. There are lots of issues... There are issues such as the need to ensure that the Auditor General office is able to share information with the Commission, which is not now facilitated by the law," he pointed out. 
 
Parliamentary oversight 
 
Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips defended his call for parliamentary oversight for the Integrity Commission, dismissing concerns that parliament might not able to exercise "sincere or honest judgement".  
 
"If you trust the people to make laws for you; if you elect them to make laws for you, why would you not expect that a commission of the parliament should not be given oversight by the parliament? It's illogical," he contended.  
 
The Integrity Commission has been in the spotlight in recent months for its handling of the probe into the Rooms on the Beach property sale as well as the publication of the summary of the Prime Minister's statutory declaration.
 
Statutory declarations
 
In the meantime, Dr. Phillips has suggested that the Integrity Commission include the purchase price and market value of real estate assets of politicians when publishing their statutory declarations. 
 
In a summary report of Dr. Phillips's statutory declaration, gazetted last month, it was revealed that the Opposition Leader's family had real estate assets valued at $3.6 million.
 
Earlier this week, Dr. Phillips's wife revealed that the current market value of the home she owns jointly with her husband is $48 million.
 
Speaking at Thursday afternoon's news conference, Dr. Phillips defended his wife's decision to clear the air. 
 
"My wife's response in this matter was to any suggestion which would have had a very negative effect on my own reputation and on hers that there was somehow some deliberate process of misrepresentation. It's not so," he said.  
 


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