Holness must instruct CMU to hand over documents to police, Phillips says

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Leader of the Opposition People’s National Party, Dr Peter Phillips says Prime Minister Andrew Holness has a duty to immediately instruct the leadership of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) to hand over all the requested documents to the police and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and cease impeding the criminal investigation being undertaken. 

 This level of obstruction as described in the media reports should not be countenanced, Dr Phillips said in a statement this morning.

“It has come to public attention through media reports that the CMU, in an effort to frustrate the criminal investigation into acts of corruption around former Education Minister Ruel Reid, has hired an attorney to challenge court orders compelling the institution and some of its senior executives, among others, to turn over critical documents to FID and police investigators to assist in the ongoing investigations.

“It is also reported that CMU officials have used threats and intimidation to discourage several persons from talking to investigators. If these allegations are true, they amount to obstruction of justice and they must not be allowed to take root into our public affairs,” Phillips said in the statement.

Phillips said the CMU, which is an agency of the Ministry of Education, for which the prime minister has direct responsibility, is a public body and any effort to thwart the investigations must be immediately stopped as the government cannot appear to be involved in a cover-up. He said that the prime minister should instruct all agencies of the ministry to fully cooperate with the FID and other state agencies responsible for investigations.

“It reflects a pattern that has disturbing implications for governance and for our country’s fight against corruption,” Phillips said.

He added that there appears to be an emerging pattern that where corrupt practices are discovered, the prime minister assumes portfolio responsibility and investigations proceed while those staff members potentially in breach remain in office, contrary to the normal practice of accountability.

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