8 officials in St Kitts face charges for failing to declare assets

February 02, 2024 in National

St Kitts and Nevis Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Adlai Smith has filed charges against eight public officials, who failed to submit declarations under the Integrity in Public Life Act.

The complaints were filed yesterday.

Smith had given all public officials with outstanding declarations until January 26 to comply with their statutory obligation.

The offending public officials are Magistrate Fitzroy Eddy; Saju N’gla, General Manager of the ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation; Ricky Lenrick Lake, Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation; Ruthlyn Harris, Member of the Public Service Commission; Oral Brandy, General Manager of the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority; Steadmon Tross Chairman of the Nevis Electricity Company Limited (NEVLEC); Albert Gordon, General Manager of NEVLEC and Pamela Martin, Chairperson of the Nevis Tourism Authority.

Two officials had their names omitted as the DPP said he is awaiting “a legal opinion regarding the effect of their resignations on their obligations to file.”

Another official was granted an extension until February 5 “on compassionate grounds” due to the death and recent burial of his mother.

“I wish to reiterate the importance of these declarations in combating corruption and maintaining public trust. Were I to fail to follow through on my warning of certain prosecution, not only would the credibility of my office be damaged, but it would also set a harmful precedent that laws can be disregarded without consequence,” Smith said in a statement.

Officials on Nevis could soon be finding themselves before the court as the DPP is awaiting a list of defaulters from the Nevis Integrity Commission.

Public officials, who are found guilty of breaching Chapter 22.18 of the Integrity in Public Life Act face fines of up to EC$30,000.00 or imprisonment for up to three years.

The DPP said the charges “should serve as a stark reminder of the seriousness with which the Federal Government viewed non-compliance with this law.”

Smith said his actions are having a positive impact as compliance with the law has risen from 14 per cent to 90 per cent.

The DPP reminded officials that their next filing deadline is April 30, 2024.

“Applicable public officials are strongly urged to make the necessary preparations to ensure that this legal obligation is honoured by the statutory deadline,” Smith added.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated removing the name of Oureika Petty. The Director of Public Prosecution said she was incorrectly identified as someone subject to filing requirements under the Integrity in Public Life Act.