Chuck demands update on Integrity Commission’s ‘illicit six’ probe Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is calling on the Integrity Commission (IC) to provide an update on the status of its investigation into six parliamentarians who are suspected of illicit enrichment. 

Chuck is adamant that with the matter appearing to be lingering, it is not fair to parliamentarians in general. 

“… Everybody I see on the street (asks me), ‘Are you one of the six?’ It’s not fair, chairman. They (the IC) need to clear this thing up,” the minister stated.

Chuck, a member of Parliament’s Integrity Commission Oversight Committee, made the demand during Thursday’s sitting of that committee. 

The IC’s 2022-2023 annual report indicated that six parliamentarians and 28 public officials are under investigation for illicit enrichment, which is said to be when an individual owns assets that are disproportionate to one’s lawful earnings. 

Section 14 (5) (a) of the Corruption Prevention Act states that failure to provide a satisfactory explanation for such assets can lead to prosecution.

The term ‘illicit 6’ has dominated conversations on social media, and even featured on the political stage, with the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) declaring that none of its members are under probe for illicit enrichment. 

On Thursday, Chuck seemingly expressed frustration about the delay in the probe by the IC.

He said he did not know when the IC’s next annual report will be presented to the committee, but “it is about time” an update be provided “about (the perceived) six illicit enrichment of members, (and) whether or not those six members, one or all six, have been cleared up.” 

He pointed to comments made by Craig Beresford, the IC’s Director of Information and Complaints, at a previous committee meeting.

“… When Mr Craig Beresford was here, he said that the basis of the illicit enrichment was a mismatch between expenditure and income. 

“To my mind, those members, whoever they are, if they can’t clear it up, then we need some indication from the IC, Integrity Commission, what is being done,” Chuck indicated. 

It is not the first time Chuck has made a call for the commission to provide an update on its illicit enrichment investigations of the unknown parliamentarians. 

He made a call for the IC to do so in December of 2023, but there has been no update since then, and no such reports have been submitted to the Houses of Parliament.

Representatives of the IC have been asked to be present at the next meeting of Parliament’s IC Oversight Committee.