Tuesday, 21 February 2023 16:17

Christie: "I have done nothing wrong"

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Integrity Commission (IC) Executive Director Greg Christie has strongly rejected calls for his resignation, declaring that he has been unbiased in his duties over the last three years at the anti-corruption agency.

The commission’s publishing of a ruling exonerating Prime Minister Andrew Holness two days after the February 14 tabling of a report referring him for a corruption probe sparked a firestorm about procedure, law, and conspiracy.

“I have carried out my job obligations faithfully and diligently, and above all, with scrupulous integrity. I have done nothing wrong,” Christie said in an interview Sunday.

“I have faithfully complied with the instructions and directives of the chairman and commissioners, to whom I report, inclusive of instructions that are associated with the issues that are now in the public domain,” the anti-corruption campaigner added.

Government senators have called for the resignation of Christie or that the commissioners ask him to quit.

“The unjust treatment of the recently tabled Integrity Commission report and belated publication of the related ruling has been presided over by its executive director,” the senators said in a statement issued last Friday.

The report, which was published by the clerk to the Houses of Parliament on February 15, indicated that Holness may have influenced the award of contracts to Robert Garvin, a former employee, business partner, and someone he knew for more than 20 years.

Director of Investigations Kevon Stephenson had referred the report, dated October 2022, implicating Holness in an alleged conflict of interest to Director of Corruption Prosecution Keisha Prince-Kameka for a ruling.

However, the February 16 release by the commission of the January 12 Prince-Kameka decision, which absolved Holness of any criminal action, triggered an avalanche of criticism from several non-governmental and private-sector groups.

Some claimed that the delay in publishing the ruling brought the office of the prime minister into disrepute and tarnished Jamaica’s standing.

Turning to scathing criticism about his tweets, Christie said that he has posted anti-corruption content from as far back as May 2010.

“I try to bring an understanding to the public about the standards of governance, integrity, and accountability. I have tweeted every day from the day I have started over 13 years ago,” said Christie.

He said that the narrative in the public domain was “a disingenuous characterisation of what has taken place”.

According to Christie, part of the IC’s mandate is public education on anti-corruption best practices.

“Our job is to ensure that Jamaica has the highest standards of integrity and accountability in the administration of public functions in this country.

“That’s our job, and I am the ED, so there is nothing inconsistent with what I am doing. It’s within the commission’s mandate,” he argued.

Referring to his and the commission’s Twitter pag, he made it clear that he has not made “one single comment” on the report or ruling by the commission.

A review of the IC’s Twitter page, according to Christie, will show that once an investigation report is tabled in Parliament and there are media reports on the issue, the IC retweets the stories.

“This investigation report, we tweeted the Gleaner story, the Observer stories, and we also tweeted the stories from The Gleaner, Nationwide, and the Observer when the prime minister challenged the report,” he said.

“Nobody has mentioned that. The commission made no comment. It just merely retweeted the reports.”

He said that the commission also tweeted the stories from several media houses on the ruling.

In its statement last Thursday, the IC’s five commissioners said they had not been guilty of any procedural misstep.

The commissioners declared that “the ruling of the director of corruption prosecution in a matter does not change the content of the report of the director of investigation. They are independent in their operations”.

“We have been neutral, we have been balanced, and we have been unbiased,” Christie said.

The executive director said that he has no control over the timing of the publications as he acts on the instructions of the commission, a claim that was corroborated by the commissioners last Friday.