Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, is dismissing a claim by Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, that the government is moving to get rid of his office.
Mr. Harrison made the claim yesterday, saying with the creation of a single anti-corruption agency, the Office of the Contractor General will no longer exist.
In a tweet yesterday afternoon, Mr. Holness said, ‘there are NO plans by us to get rid of the OCG.’
Mr. Holness says the ‘new single anti-corruption agency will boost Jamaica’s fight against corruption.’
And the former Contractor General, Greg Christie has confirmed that the proposal to establish a single anti-corruption agency including the Office of the Contractor General, OCG, was first made by him.
He gave the confirmation in a series of tweets yesterday after Mr. Harrison made the claims.
Mr. Christie says he made the recommendation back in 2010 when he was Contractor General.
He’d recommended the OCG, the National Integrity Commission and the Prevention Commission be merged.
Mr. Christie tweeted that he first made the recommendation in an open letter to the then Prime Minister, Bruce Golding and then Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller.
He says the recommendation was also made to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Delroy Chuck, and then President of the Senate, Oswald Harding.
Mr. Christie also tweeted a copy of the 2010 media release outlining his recommendation.
It says he’s recommending a single entity “to vest in that agency the mandate, among other things, to criminally investigate and to independently prosecute all corruption and related criminal offences.”
He says references to the proposal were reported in the OCG’s 2009 and 2010 Annual Reports to Parliament.
He says references to the June 2012 working version of the proposal were also reported to parliament in the OCG’s 2011 Annual Report.
Yesterday, Mr. Harrison expressed concerns that he only learnt of plans to establish a single anti-corruption agency last November during a meeting with Chairman of the Economic Growth Council, Michael Lee Chin.
Mr. Harrison says it was disclosed that the IMF agreement requires that various agencies in Jamaica be merged into a single anti-corruption entity.
He also claimed the government is moving to get rid of the OCG following this merger.
Meanwhile, Mr. Christie is describing the Integrity Commission Bill now before Parliament as ‘weak’ and ‘flawed’.
Among his reasons, he says the proposed Integrity Commission will have to rely on other law enforcement agencies of the state such as the Jamaica Constabulary Force to make arrests at their discretion or will.