Caribbean News

Integrity Commission says probe into MNIB to continue following court case

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Integrity Commission says it will resume its investigation into the operations of the state-owned Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) after the former chief executive officer, Sandiford Ruel Edwards withdrew his appeal against an earlier High Court ruling.

The Commission had announced plans for the investigation into the MNIB’s operations for the period 2012-18, but Edwards had appealed the July 28,, 2019 decision of Justice Godfrey Smith dismissing his claim, which had sought to stop the probe.

In his appeal, Edwards also applied for and obtained an injunction staying the investigation pending the determination of the appeal. The Integrity Commission had in July applied for the matter to be struck out, claiming Edwards’ failure to take certain steps to move the matter forward. In the alternative, the Commission requested the Court to discharge the October 25, 2019 Interim Injunction so as to allow the MNIB investigation to continue pending the appeal

But during Monday’s sitting of the Court of Appeal, presided over by Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira and Justices Gertel Thom and Paul Webster, the attorneys for Edwards informed the court they were withdrawing the appeal.

“There are therefore no further pending matters before the court regarding this issue. The Integrity Commission now plans to conclude its Investigations and its Report, which will include its findings and recommendations,” the Commission said in a statement.

“It is expected that the recommendations will serve as a guide for best practices for the management and accountability of national and regional statutory bodies.”

The Commission had earlier acknowledged that its investigation into the MNIB was not triggered by any complaint made to it, noting however that in July 2018, the local media had carried reports alleging impropriety on behalf of the claimant.

According to the court documents “the provenance of these allegations appears to have been a statement made by Samuel Andrews, the former chairman of the MNIB”.

The court documents noted that prior to the newspaper article, the High Court on June 28, 2018 “made an order for the garnishment of MNIB’s account in satisfaction of a judgement debt in the sum of US$274,590 owed to CSME Commodity Trades Limited”.

The Grenada government the following month issued a statement indicating that an investigation would be conducted into MNIB over the last five years and that “Cabinet …had endorsed a recommendation for a thorough investigation put forward by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who was quoted as having a serious problem with the allegations concerning MNIB”.

CMC

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