Friday 15 February, 2019

Devant writes Integrity Commission on Dillon

Former minister Devant Maharaj has filed an official complaint with the Integrity Commission over what he has described as unethical conduct by National Security Minister Edmund Dillon in relation to the recently concluded claim in the New York Supreme Court for elder abuse, fraud and misconduct.

Dillon allegedly defrauded an elderly man, Neville Piper, 88 of a condominium in Manhattan and a substantial sum of money.

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The Minister was accused of exploiting the elderly man’s trust which Maharaj said violates the code of conduct for a government minister and warrants an investigation by the Integrity Commission.

He noted that Dillon was ordered to repay the money, return Piper’s deed and relinquish all documents and interests pertaining to Mr. Piper.

The elderly man’s niece made the disclosure via social media and there has been no denial by the Minister to date.

In his letter dated April 19, 2018, Maharaj requested an investigation be launched to determine whether Dillon declared this monetary and gift of property in his annual declaration of income, assets and liabilities and statement of registrable interests.

According to Section 27 of the Integrity in Public Life Act Dillon was mandated to declare the gift, which exceeds $5000 in value. Section 27 states:

“27. (1) A person to whom this Part applies shall not accept a fee, gift or personal benefit, except compensation authorised by law, that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of the duties of his office.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a gift or personal benefit that is received as an incident of the protocol or social obligations that normally accompany the responsibilities of office.

(3) Where a gift or personal benefit referred to in subsection (2) exceeds five thousand dollars in value or where the total value received directly or indirectly from one source in any twelve-month period exceeds five thousand dollars, a person in public life shall file with his declaration, a statement indicating the nature of the gift or benefit, its source and the circumstances under which it was given or accepted.

 (4) For the purposes of this section, the amount of a gift comprising property, other than money, shall be deemed to be an amount equal to the value of the property.”

Section 24(2)(a) of the Act states that a person in public life “shall not use his office for the improper advancement of his own or his family’s personal or financial interests or the interest of any person.”

Maharaj called for the investigation as he said the facts of the case and the damning nature of the alleged misconduct warrants an urgent investigation by the Commission to determine whether there has been a breach of the integrity of public life Act.

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