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Jamaica’s House Speaker should be charged for failing to declare vehicle

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, 21:57 by Denis Chabrol

House Speaker Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert

Jamaica’s Integrity Commission’s Director of Corruption Prosecution, Keisha Prince-Kameka, has ruled that House Speaker Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert should be charged for making a false statement in a Statutory Declaration in relation to a Mercedes Benz motor vehicle, Jamaica Observer newspaper reported.

The charges concern her declarations from 2015 to 2020.

The Integrity Commission said Dalrymple-Philibert omitted to include the vehicle in her Statutory Declarations, and, therefore, her declarations were inaccurate and incomplete.

The findings of an investigation into the matter are contained in a report tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Commissions’ Director of Investigation found¬†that¬†Dalrymple-Philibert obtained a 20 per cent¬†duty concession in her capacity as¬†member of parliament for the purpose of purchasing the motor vehicle to be used in connection with her public duties.

The Director of Investigation said given that the vehicle was purchased using the concession due to her, it formed part of her assets and should have been disclosed in her Statutory Declarations.

However, he raised further questions about whether the use of the 20 per cent duty concession granted to Dalrymple-Philibert was consistent with the terms and conditions of the facility and whether the Customs Act or any other provision of law was breached.

He noted that the funds to acquire the vehicle were provided by Dalrymple-Philibert’s brother-in-law, Lincoln Eatmon, by way of loan and cash deposit.

He also noted Dalrymple-Philibert’s representations that the vehicle was neither owned nor operated by her, although it was acquired in her name and with the aid of a 20 per cent duty concession obtained by her.

The Director of Investigation found that there was sufficient basis to infer that Section 36 of the Customs Act, together with the other terms and conditions of the duty concession granted to Dalrymple-Philibert were breached.

“It is curious that the Accounting and/or Accountable Officers at the Houses of Parliament did not discover that claims for Motor Vehicle Allowances by Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibert were being made in breach of the relevant legislation and Circular,” the Director of Investigation was quoted as saying in the Jamaica Gleaner report.

He noted that¬†the application for duty concession by Dalrymple-Philibert was made through the Houses of Parliament, and “they therefore had actual or constructive knowledge of same, as well as, the terms and conditions attached thereto.”

The Director of Investigation concluded that motor vehicle allowances paid in spite of the breaches identified were irregular and he cited the accountable officers at the Houses of Parliament for negligence.

He recommended that the report be referred to the Financial Secretary to take the necessary action to recover the allowances paid to Dalrymple-Philibert.

The Director of Investigation’s report¬†was also referred to the Director of Corruption Prosecution for consideration and in her ruling was tabled in the House of Representatives alongside the report on Tuesday.

“Upon careful consideration, it was determined that Mrs. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert should be charged for four (4) counts of breach of section 15(1)(b) of the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Act, 1973 for Making a False Statement in a Statutory Declaration for the periods ending December 31, 2015, February 25, 2016, December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2017.

It was also determined that Mrs. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert should be charged for four (4) counts of breach of section 43(2)(a) of the Integrity Commission Act, 2017 for Making a False Statement in a Statutory Declaration for the periods ending December 31, 2018, December 31, 2019, September 3, 2020 and December 31, 2020,” she stated in her ruling.

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