In a statement today, Opposition spokesman on finance, Mark Golding, says It is offensive to public sensibilities that contracts that have been granted in circumstances like these are allowed to run their course and the contracting parties are allowed to continue to reap the contractual benefits, after these circumstances have been exposed.
Golding said he was therefore calling for the immediate amendment to the Integrity Commission Act to allow the Commission (acting on its own volition, or at the request of any Committee of Parliament) to declare a contract with a public body to be null and void if the Commission is satisfied that it is tainted by any act of corruption.
Upon such a declaration being made, the public body should be required by law to cease and desist from making further payments and otherwise giving effect the contract.
Furthermore, benefits already received should become liable to be disgorged by an order made on application to the court by the Commission or the public body which has incurred the cost of conferring benefits under the contract.
Any contracting party or affected third party should be entitled to apply to the Court for relief from the effects of such a declaration, and the court should be able to make whatever order is required in the interests of justice, taking into account the overriding objectives of the Integrity Commission Act and any repercussions arising from the contract being terminated.
If considered necessary in the national interest, provision may be included enabling the Cabinet to override the cease and desist effect of the declaration, if they publish notice of Cabinet’s decision that serious injury would be caused to the economy, national security or international relations if the contract is terminated prior to its expiration.
I am also once again calling on the Government to appoint the Integrity Commission Oversight Committee provided for in the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives (as amended by the Integrity Commission Act which came into effect nearly two years ago).
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