What’s all the fuss about the Mannatt/Dudus final report?
The Commissioners have submitted their “detailed” 58-page report and the opposition and others have been taking them to task for a “bad report.
Firstly they have noted that given all the evidence over the 44 day period that the enquiry was held, a 58 page report in no way reflects what took place.
Let’s examine the mandate of the COE, the selection process and the deliverables.
After the Dudus/Mannatt debacle the opposition PNP as well as the private sector were all calling for a Commission of Enquiry into the entire affair and the PM bowed to pressure and decided it was the right thing to do.
In true Jamaican way of doing things we immediately applauded the Prime Minister suggesting that he was indeed listing to the voice of the people and acting accordingly.
In true Jamaican fashion, we allowed him to do the following:
- Choose the persons who would sit on and who would chair the COE
- Decide on the terms of reference
- Decide on the deliverables.
It would take a really stupid person who’s back is against the wall to setup a COE to crucify himself and we allow know Bruce is not a stupid person.
So what were the terms and references of the COE and what were the deliverables.
- 1. The manner in which the extradition was handled and the conduct of the public officials involved
- 2. The circumstances in which the services of the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips were engaged in relation to any or all of the matters involved, by whom were they engaged and on whose behalf they were authorized to act.
- 3. Were there any misconduct by these officials and if so decide on actions against these persons.
The Findings (based on the mandate)
Items 1. The manner in which the extradition was handled and the conduct of the public officials involved.
- The commissioners found that the AG should have signed the extradition earlier than she did
- Dudus constitutional rights were breached as the wire tap information should not have been shared with outside law enforcement officials.
- Lewin acted in contravention of the extradition act.
Item #2 . The circumstances in which the services of the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips were engaged in relation to any or all of the matters involved, by whom were they engaged and on whose behalf they were authorized to act
- The commissioner found that it was the JLP that engaged the services of MPP.
- MPP was engaged to help resolve the Dudus situation after a “stalemate “ was said to have occurred.
Item #3 Were there any misconduct by these officials and if so decide on actions against these persons.
- The Prime Minister became too involved in the entire process.
- Peter Phillips has no legal authority to unilaterally sign the MOU’s and he breached the Jamaican constitution in doing so.
- No sanctions against any of the above persons.
- Wire tapping information law (interception of communication) should be changed to allow for Jamaica to share intelligence with other countries to crime fighting efforts.
- The post of Attorney General and Justice Minister should be split, too much work load( conflict of interest)
So truth be told the commissioners rummaged through most of the hogwash that came out during the testimony and then produces the deliverables which were part of the mandate which they were given at the start of the enquiry.
So what were these persons expecting ?
The fact is we celebrated and applauded the move by the PM to establish this COE and we allowed him the freedom to decide everything, so how could we have really expected anything else.
As a country we set the bar way too low and as such we will never strive for or achieve excellence as we pay too much emphasis on politics vs really finding out the truth.
The PNP is hopping mad as they did not get what they wanted since this report was supposed to be their trump card ie that card on which they could ride into the general elections in 2012, sadly for them that will not be the case.
Another week from now the Mannatt/Dudus affair will be history and all over by the shouting , while Bruce and the JLP will live to fight another day.
If the real intention of the COE was to get to the truth and not as politicized as it was, maybe we would have gotten closer to the truth, however once politics strode in, all objectivity was lost and the end result was political posturing and everyone defending their party.
The future of Commission of Enquiries in Jamaica
I cannot recall any COE which has worth the money spent to conduct the equiry itself. COE of inquiries have been devoid of any detailed investigation and are really not supported by law for the politicians own selfish reasons, hence there continued failure.
We have come to accept these failures as par for the course and have not demanded changes that will give COE the teeth they need to be really effective.
Outcomes we never got or asked for .
Q1. Who paid mannatt and where was the source of funds (SOF)
We never did find out who paid MPP, where did the money come from to make such payments. Now in any investigation this would have been really easy to determine as, I am sure my seven yr old could tell them where to get the information from and then we would really know who was corrupting the process.
Wire transfer is the easiest way to trace funds as the electronic footprint can never be truly erased, if you are really looking. So we really were not looking for the truth.
During the COE the treasurer of the party said the funds were from private donars so why were the transfers made through a fund that was recently accused of being a slush fund. ( See the Jamaica Observer to see which fund was accused of that recently)
Q2. How did Dudus come by a copy of his own warrant
The minister off national security, the justice minister, the AG and the DPP should have been forced to discuss and we determine how did this occur.
Who got copies of the warrant, how many copies were made, were the copies controlled and who had an opportunity to get these into the hands of the most wanted. This would have been a criminal offence and show a clear link between the political directorate, some other public official or law enforcement.
It was never a question and as such no answers were forthcoming.
Q3. Who really engaged manatt ?
This question was never really properly answered as the star witness was silent and did not testify and as such will pay a measly $500 and walk away as that is the maximum he can be fined.
Q4. What was the role of the Minister of National Security in this affair.
The minister testimony was punctuated by ” I cannot recall” and as such he did not have to offer any information that could damage him and /or his party. So we have no idea of his role and how he contributed to what occurred.
R1. We need to setup specific standards as it relates to
a) When a COE is considered necessary.
b) Who is authorized to setup such COE .
c) Terms and reference should be very clear and not left up to the will and fancy of any one person.
d) The truth must be the main focus of the enquiry.
e) They must be devoid of political influence and/or flavour.
f) We must establish criteria for selection of persons who will chair and sit on these COE.
R2. All future commission of enquiry should have the following as part of the setup.
a) Seasoned investigators where it is believed that a criminal offence may have been committed. These persons will be responsibly for carrying out investigation into the matter under enquiry.
b) A public prosecutor who will look at the evidence submitted and decides if criminal or civil charges should be brought against those persons who testified throughout the trail.
c) No one called to the trail to testify should be allowed to either remain silent or choose not to be able to recall any matter of importance. ( See R3)
R3. Laws need to be amended to make it a criminal offence for a public officer or any other persons to refuse to testify. In addition the perjury law should be enacted which makes it a criminal offence to lie before a commission of enquiry
Persons so involved to be subjected to a minimum of five years in prison, plus a fine not less than $500,000
R4. Political parties must be barred from setting up COE.
Once a party as setup a COE its typically to get exonerate themselves or get at the opposition party vs determine the truth and have such persons who have violated the laws punished.
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