Not true: PNP’s Dwayne Vaz says he complied with IC’s requests Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

People’s National Party (PNP) caretaker-candidate for Westmoreland Central, Dwayne Vaz has responded to an investigation report from the Integrity Commission (IC) which accuses him of refusing to comply with its lawful requests and of failing to pay a required fixed penalty of $250,000 to Tax Administration Jamaica.

The damning report on the former Member of Parliament was tabled Tuesday in the House of Representatives. He has responded in a lengthy letter.

“Following the discussions in Parliament today, April 23, 2024, regarding allegations of non-compliance with the Integrity Commission, I wish to provide a detailed account of the events and clarify my adherence to the requirements set forth by the Integrity Commission Act (ICA),” Vaz said.

He outlined that in March 2020, he filed an initial statutory declaration for the year ending 2019, ensuring compliance with the guidelines of the ICA.  

Vaz shared that the Integrity Commission “requested additional documents concerning a specific entity with which I am associated”.

“Despite facing unforeseen delays in accessing the information, I remained in constant communication with the commission and sought extensions to gather the required documentation,” he said.

Vaz further shared that on February 18, 2021 he was informed by the Integrity Commission of a potential fixed penalty for the delayed submission of the requested information. He claims that he “submitted the requested additional information with all necessary documents fully completed by March 2021”.

Vaz also said that on May 18, 2021, the Integrity Commission confirmed that his statutory declaration up to December 31, 2019, was duly completed in accordance with the provisions of the ICA.

“This confirmation was issued under Section 42 (2) of the Integrity Commission Act,” he said while pointing to letter from the IC which states:

“The Integrity Commission hereby certifies that your statutory declaration as at December 31, 2019 has been examined. Based on the examination, which does not constitute an audit, it appears that the declaration has been duly completed in accordance with the provisions of the Integrity Commission Act.”

Having received that letter from the IC, Vaz noted that three years later on March 26, 2024 he “received a summons to appear before the Half-Way Tree Parish Court on charges of failing to provide required information to the Integrity Commission”.

“The hearing, held on April 9, 2024, brought to light a misunderstanding regarding these charges, which appeared to contradict the 2021 confirmation of compliance from the IC. I was charged for failure to submit declarations, which is untrue and has been verified by the May 18, 2021 letter received from the commission,” said Vaz.

He added that “The court proceedings recognised the inconsistency in the information presented. I have been given the opportunity to review the commission’s documentation further and am scheduled to return to court on April 30, 2024”.

According to him, the lawyers representing the Integrity Commission were unaware of the May 18, 2021 letter from the commission certifying his declaration.

“I am fully committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and transparency required by the Integrity Commission and will continue to engage cooperatively with all legal processes. My focus remains on serving with integrity and accountability, and I am prepared to present all necessary information to the court to demonstrate my compliance,” Vaz concluded.