The Senate today opened debate on the Prevention of Corruption Bill, with a declaration by Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, that many statutory corporations may be guilty of a form of corruption.
Benn, who led off debate on the bill, made specific reference to corporations that are required to submit annual audited financial statements and have been seriously tardy in doing so.
“Many of these are guilty,” he added.
He said there were audited financial reports that were now being received for 2006 and 2007.
The Government senator told the Upper Chamber he knew of one corporation which, even as he spoke, had not submitted an audited financial statement since 2004. Benn, decline to name the organisation, pointing out that he would have to take some of the blame.
The minister revealed that some schools were in default from as far back as 2003 and only caught up because of pressure placed on them and were able to submit statements for 2009 and 2010.
He noted that the new legislation would put statutory corporations under the microscope regarding their legal requirements to submit annual audited financial reports.
Benn, however, identified the Fair Trading Commission, which fell under his ministry, as an example of a corporation that was up to date on its financial statements. He informed the Senate that the FTC had already sent in its report for 2012.
The minister explained, too, that the bill addressed money laundering issues, and he pointed to banks, trust companies, credit unions, attorneys-at-law, other individuals and entities.
Benn observed also that the judicial and prosecution services, as well as public reporting were also captured in the pending legislation. (EJ)†