No government corruption, report finds

POLICIES to deal with bribery and corruption within the government need to be updated and improved, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30102989)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30102989)

However, Lynn Pamment found that, although three instances of gifts being accepted in contravention of policy had been identified, no cases of corruption had been unearthed in the States. She concluded that although there was a ‘robust statutory framework’ in place in Jersey to combat bribery and corruption, ‘detailed work’ was required by government to implement new anti-corruption policies.

Her report on anti-corruption arrangements found ‘some weaknesses’ in procedures regarding procurement, gifts and hospitality, and conflicts of interest, while compliance with these procedures was ‘variable’.

There was also a need to review and update codes of conduct for employees, States Members, ministers and assistant ministers. The CAG highlighted that the code of conduct for government staff had not been updated since 2002. Ms Pamment’s report focused on the States’ ability to identify and manage risks of corruption.

The Corruption (Jersey) Law 2006 had introduced comprehensive measures to combat bribery and corruption and enhanced the provisions for prosecution in Jersey, even where acts alleged to constitute an offence were committed outside the Island, the report found. The CAG also noted that the government participated in external review programmes led by the United Nations and Moneyval (Council of Europe) and demonstrated ‘a high level of compliance’.

Alongside updating codes of conduct, Ms Pamment said: ‘There is also a need to review and improve policies and procedures in respect of managing conflicts of interest; procurement breaches and exemptions; and the scrutiny of gifts and hospitality.’

Regarding employees, Ms Pamment said in her report there was a need to ‘evidence on a more consistent basis the rationale and justification for acceptance of gifts and hospitality’.

The CAG identified three instances where acceptance of gifts, with values ranging from £69 to £1,000, was in contravention of policy.

In each of these three instances the acceptance had been ‘approved by an appropriate manager’.

Ms Pamment said: ‘In my view there was a lack of suitable judgment exercised in the decision to accept these three gifts.’

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