Gov’t moves to set up anti-corruption unit

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Ministry of Legal Affairs is in the process of setting up an anti-corruption unit. The Attorney General, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, said the unit is being established to ensure the country improves compliance with anti-corruption strategies.

The unit will operate through the Ministry of Legal Affairs and will be headed by attorney Annette Mark.

Antigua & Barbuda is one of 35 countries that signed on to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) and it is under this Convention and other regulations, the unit would be operating.

Reports are that officials from the Organisation of American States (OAS) will assist in the establishment of the unit. The scope of the unit’s work was not disclosed.

Meanwhile, yesterday, OAS officials kicked off a three-day forum to review the country’s compliance levels with regards to ensuring adherence to regulations and guidelines for freedom of information; conflicts of interest; and systems for declaring income, assets and liabilities.

The bodies under review are the Integrity Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Office of the Department of Audit and the Information Commissioner.

The work of those groups are being examined based on reports from technical experts from the OAS secretariat, the media, chamber of commerce, banking sector, bar association, trade unions and other groups.

Anti-corruption experts from Chile and Bahamas would be doing the review, and will then compile recommendations to guide better implementation.