Public Disclosure Commission years behind in compiling financial disclosures

Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday the commission is at least two years behind in compiling financial disclosures of public officials.

“We are years behind on that,” Laroda told The Nassau Guardian.

“I am on the record of saying that before. We’re running at least two to three years behind in terms of the most recent. We haven’t gotten to 2018 yet.”

Asked about the hold up for the reports, Laroda said, “We have approximately 39 MPs. There are 16 senators and there are unlimited civil servants. There are about three people who work in that office. Before those documents get to us, they are done by the people who work in the office.

“So, we review them. We physically go through every document that is submitted. Sometimes we have to ask for additional information or more up to date [information]. That is a very tedious task.”

He said the commission meets at least once per week for “a couple” of hours.

Although the commission knows which parliamentarians have disclosed for the year, it is unlikely it will get around compiling a report for the 2018 disclosures until next year, according to Laroda.

The Public Disclosure Act empowers both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition to “authorize the furnishing of any information furnished to him by the commission to the attorney general or the commissioner of police”.

That information includes the commission’s report on the MPs and other public officials who have failed to file their disclosures. The law was created in an effort to ensure that elected and publicly appointed officials do not enrich themselves off the public purse.

The 1976 act provides for the Cabinet to gazette the information.

During the recent Christie administration, a report was not gazetted.

The most recent gazetted report is from December 2011, and it contains information on disclosures only up to 2008.

Laroda has acknowledged the gap in disclosure reports being gazetted, but reserved comment as “that’s above my pay grade”.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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