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Parliamentarians Must File Disclosures By June 30

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE government has set a June 30 deadline for former and sitting parliamentarians to file disclosures or face prosecution, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.

In a recent interview with The Tribune, the veteran journalist said the government has instructed Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Chairman Myles Laroda to send his finalised list of delinquent parliamentarians to the Attorney General by Monday, July 3.

Last month, Mr Laroda would not disclose the list of delinquent politicians but noted that they included members of both the former governing party, the Progressive Liberal Party, and the Free National Movement, which served as the Official Opposition until the May 10 general election.

According to The Tribune's records, the deadline being imposed by the Minnis administration could affect more than 20 present and current members of parliament.

Present and former parliamentarians and senators, along with senior public officers, are required to submit their disclosures to the PDC by March each year.

The law specifies that persons in breach could face a fine of $10,000, or two years in prison, or both, or confiscation of land if land is involved.

On Wednesday, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Elsworth Johnson suggested that the government amend the Public Disclosure Act to broaden the scope to include campaign finance reform and to make provision for direct referral to an independent prosecutor.

Mr Johnson, former President of the Bahamas Bar Association, argued that the premise of public disclosures are necessary to keep parliamentarians and public officials "accountable".

He went on to commend both Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Attorney General Carl Bethel on their efforts to crack down on delinquent disclosures since coming to office.

During the Christie administration's tenure, the PDC expressed concern over the widespread failure of officials to comply with legislation.

In 2014, former Prime Minister Perry Christie addressed the matter in the House of Assembly, urging members to prioritise submissions.

At the time of his plea, 11 of 38 MPs could not confirm to The Tribune whether they had filed all of their annual disclosures.

Moreover, at least nine government ministers had not filed their public disclosures for 2014 as mandated by law, according to their own admissions.

Comments

Socrates 5 months, 4 weeks ago

i would not hold my breath for anything significant to happen.. how many millions was spent for example on Commissions of Inquiries and how many people were ever prosecuted as a result? a few folks will have their names put in the paper, they will come up with creative excuses and that will be it...

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Can't wait!!!!!!! ..................... The People must know what these PLP (and maybe a few others) -scoundrels were doing when they were pretending to "represent the people" during the last 5 years ............. We look forward to legislative reform to deal with campaign financing and public disclosure that has TEETH .......... This present PDA does not have much teeth

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 4 weeks ago

BTW ........... Where can we find the disclosure information on the 2017 candidates????????

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Millennial242 5 months, 3 weeks ago

They are gazetted in the tribune and guardian. So the quickest way I can think of is to look at old newspapers. I can't recall which date it was posted...may have been around Easter time.

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Islandboy242242 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Seems like a quick $200,000 for the treasury, let's get to it. Wish the article would have expanded on what exactly would happen after the delinquent list is sent to the AG on July 3rd. They said what the possible punishments could be, but didn't actually say what they would do about persons on the list.

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John 5 months, 3 weeks ago

With all that is being exposed by the new FNM government nothing in the disclosures will come as a surprise. Furthermore those mp's who used their positions in government to self enrich themselves know how to hide their ill gott loot VI's a VI's forming companies and shell companies. So now laws have to be amended so that parliamentarians and election candidates must disclose their financial interest in any company and the value.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed .......... but there are means by which we can follow the money trail ...... or is the BEC $3million fraud an example of what has happened to the MPs kick-backs????????

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Sickened 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm sure most of these delinquent parliamentarians don't mind paying $10,000 to keep their interests secret. Which means that the AG's office must also confirm that there WILL be prison time as well. I don't know how it is decided if prison time will also be added to a fine, but without having evidence that a person is hiding something significant it will be hard to justify prison time. I think that prison time should be automatic if a return hasn't been filed by specific deadlines.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So true ............. Who will have the onions to send the crooked MPs and Senators to jail????????? .......... Minnis says he will send them to jail

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TalRussell 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrades! I'm willing wager three Sardine Sandwiches and a Pepsi Cola that come June 30, 2017, the Red Regime Cabinet will make an announced that the Red Regime have received and consented to a 90-day extension to file Financial Disclosures - beyond the June 30, 2017 set deadline to forward on to the Attorney General (AG). But in all fairness, shouldn't we the Public be so informed as to whether or not the current AG always filed his own Financial Disclosures as required by law and on time during his previous times whilst serving as the AG and in other elected and appointed capacities of the former red governing and opposition party? This question is import to ensure the Public that the AG understands the seriousness of not filing Financial Disclosures - on time and in the set time-frame as required under the law - a law that has remained the same unchanged since the very first day it became the law of the land. I remain confused how the prime minister and not the House Speaker is the one with the authority to recommend criminal charges be brought against former MP's, Senators and Government Officials failures to file Financial Disclosures - as this remains an exclusive House matter of enforcement?

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