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Integrity Commission wants action

Tuesday, February 4 2014

THE Integrity Commission has directed the Permanent Secretary in the Environment and Water Resources Ministry to take immediate corrective action with respect to a complaint it received under the ministry’s Forestry Division.

In issuing this directive, the Commission also advised the permanent secretary to confirm action has been taken, “in a written report”, to be submitted by July 18.

In a statement, the Commission said it investigated a complaint into the operation of the Forestry Division.

The Commission said that investigation unearthed “flagrant disregard for rules and regulations and the principles of good governance” regarding the approval of new Sawmill Licences as well as renewal of Sawmill Licenses.

The Commission said in accordance with Section 5 (1) (h) of the Integrity in Public Life Act, it advised the permanent secretary that, “corrective action be instituted with immediate effect to ensure compliance with all applicable rules, regulations and policies, in an effort to reduce or eliminate opportunities for corrupt practices.” In this regard, the permanent secretary was advised to take certain measures. These include the creation and implementation of a proper and detailed Standing Order Procedure containing sanctions which will detail the procedures to be adopted in the issuance of Sawmiller Licences; adherence with the requirements of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) Act; increased supervision to ensure compliance with the requirements as stipulated in the Sawmill Act and the EMA Act and the introduction of public notices to educate members of the public of the procedures to be followed and the introduction of “check lists” to ensure that the public knows when all requirements have been met. In its investigation, the Commission said its findings were based on the Sawmills and EMA Acts.

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