Commission laments bureaucrats "misusing their authority"

The Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) has expressed concerns about certain government employees "misusing their authority” for personal gain.

The concerns were raised in the Commission's Annual Report for the 2018 Financial Year with the staff of two Government ministries put in the spotlight. 

“There is obviously a need to address ‘personal attributes’ of employees recruited, given that there is a high number of employees failing to act with integrity, knowingly misuse their status or authority to seek or obtain a benefit either for themselves, for another person or body,” the report states. 

The two ministries were the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) and the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.). 

Both recorded the highest number of breaches, violating section 19 of the P.S.C. Code.

“The most commonly breached Code of Conduct are section 19 (d) and (i), in that employees failed to comply with all laws that apply to them; failure to act with integrity and knowingly misuse their status or authority to seek or obtain a benefit for themselves or any other person or body. 

“Both M.A.F. and M.E.S.C are recorded with the highest number of breach cases managed in the Ministry particularly in respect of section 19 (i) on failure to act with integrity and knowingly misuse their positions to seek or obtain a benefit for themselves or any other person or body."

The report does name anyone or detail how the authority was misused. 

Attempts to get comments from the Chief Executive Officers of the respective Ministries were unsuccessful.

But according to the Commission's report, the lack of integrity is counter-productive and is clearly an ingredient for corrupt activities. 

“Given the severity of breaches and the realization of employees acting without integrity, chief executive officers have not been hesitant to terminate employment services of those employees," stated the annual report. 

“The warnings have been issued in exceptional circumstances where employees’ pleas of mitigation were considered by the C.E.O. The prevalence of breaches originates from employees holding permanent positions from Principal Level to Officer Level within Ministries. Most are employed in Corporate Services Division."

According to the annual report, a total of 32 cases of alleged breaches were reported to the Commission. 

“This is a significant increase from the previous financial year where only 13 were reported. 

“These breaches were reported by way of warrants of appointments by C.E.O.s appointing charging officers to carry out preliminary inquiries for alleged breaches of the Public Service Code of Conduct.” 

In relation to the M.A.F., a total of 10 staff were investigated and warnings issued. 

“And mostly were employed in the Crops division.” 

For M.E.S.C., a total of eight employees were under scrutiny and some had their services terminated, while others were cautioned and reprimanded or transferred to other duties and their salaries deducted of up to $1,000. 

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