Underwood calls for immediate investigation of Asot bribery scandal

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Former Ambassador and United Progressive Party (UPP) Education Officer, Joan Underwood has called on a number of entities, mainly the Integrity Commission, to begin an immediate investigation into the bribery allegations involving Asot Michael, which forced him to resign from the cabinet as minister of Trade and Investment.
Underwood who spoke exclusively with OBSERVER media, made such a call after questioning the back-seat role the government has taken in the matter to include the recent comments made by Chief of Staff, Max Hurst in which he states that no harm will come to Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation.
“I do not even think Mr. Hurst agreed with what he said. This is not a single act but part of a greater pattern. We have Antigua and Barbuda’s name being embroiled in international scandal and what is the response of the government here in Antigua and Barbuda? They do absolutely nothing.”
Underwood continued: “The PM is on record stating that he would have to wait and see the outcome of litigation in the U.K. By virtue of the transcript made aware in the U.K. case we know that an offence has been committed because of our Code of Conduct of the Integrity and Public Life Act 2004 explicitly makes it an offence to solicit gifts or other inducements and the PM while in St. Kitts also asserted that bribery is illegal so if we know that we have a Code of Conduct which renders this an offence and we have transcripts which show that happened then why are we waiting for the U.K. court instead of taking our own action here in Antigua to call to account the former minister?”
Although stating that a number of entities should investigate the allegations, Underwood emphasised that the Integrity Commission should take the lead in this regard because “based on the legislation and the fact that the evidence is public” there is reason to act.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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