Integrity Commission initiates criminal prosecutions against two public officials

by April 19th, 2021

The Integrity Commission has initiated criminal prosecutions against two public officials for breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.

They are Patrick James, who was, at the time, Acting Senior Motor Vehicle Inspector employed to the Island Traffic Authority, and Dr. Gitanjali Baburam, who was, employed to the South East Regional Health Authority.

In a release, the Integrity Commission noted that the matters came before the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court Criminal Division today (April 19).

In the case of Mr. James, he is being prosecuted for his reported failure to declare, in his statutory declarations of assets, liabilities and income, his ownership of three motor vehicles.

In the case of Dr. Baburam, she is being prosecuted for her failure to file, without reasonable cause, statutory declarations for each declaration period from December 2012 to December 2017.

In Monday’s proceedings, Dr. Baburam entered a plea of guilty on all counts. She is to be sentenced on Monday, June 7.

The commission said Dr. Baburam was employed to the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) for the relevant period and earned in excess of the prescribed amount of 2 million dollars.

It adds that she failed to comply as at March 18, 2020, at the completion of investigations into the matter and that no reasonable cause has been presented for the failure to comply with these obligations.

In the case of Mr. James, disclosure was effected on his counsel, who the commission said requested an opportunity to peruse the documents in detail.

The matter is again set to be mentioned also on June 7.

The commission claims it was only while being interviewed pursuant to investigations in the matter that Mr. James allegedly declared his ownership of the vehicles and that his explanation for the omission was unsatisfactory.

It states that the failure to list all the vehicles owned by him amounts to him making a false statement in declaring that the forms provided were, to the best of his knowledge, true accurate and complete.

He was charged under the Corruption (Prevention) Act for knowingly making a false statement in a statutory declaration with respect to failing to declare the vehicles.