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Phillips calls for Integrity Commission oversight committee

Dr. Peter Phillips and Justice Seymour Panton (retired)
 
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips wants a parliamentary oversight committee to be immediately set up to monitor the Integrity Commission.
 
Dr. Phillips tabled a resolution on the matter in the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, urging the establishment of the committee and requesting it be convened within 14 days of its establishment to undertake its duties and report to Parliament before the end of the current session. 
 
He explained that he was motivated by the recent controversy surrounding the Commission in relation to the release of the former Contractor General's report on the Rooms on the Beach probe. 
 
Dr. Phillips also moved a resolution for the immediate review of the Integrity Commission and in particular, the confidentiality provisions.
 
He said the provisions have so far proven to be inconsistent with the aim of transparency and as such, a review of the Act should be undertaken by a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament "in an effort to avoid erosion of confidence in the Commission." 
 
The Integrity Commission was established in February following the merger of the Integrity Commission, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, and the Office of the Contractor General.
 
Removing Auditor General misguided 
 
The Integrity Commission has said any attempt to remove the Auditor General as one of its Commissioners would be misguided. following concerns about the presence of the Auditor General 
 
The comment follows questions from journalists on Monday about whether the Auditor General's role was being compromised with her serving as one of the Commissioners, and follows concerns raised by onlookers about a possible conflict. 
 
However,  (retired), a member of the Integrity Commission, has said there is no conflict of interest and nothing preventing the Auditor General's Office from executing its duties. 
 
He said the Auditor General plays a critical role on the Commission in that she "adds a necessary perspective in our deliberations as regards governmental procedures and in relation to misconduct by public officers in the conduct of public affairs." 
 
He further contended that "the fact that there may be discomfort with one report should not be causing people to be putting forward the ridiculous idea of getting the Auditor General off." 
 


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