The Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago has initiated summary criminal proceedings against the Chief Executive Officer of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation for failure to attend hearings to which she was summoned.
The Office of the Ombudsman issued two summonses in April requiring Kathy Ann Mills-Mark to appear to give evidence in two separate complaints against the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation.
Mills-Mark was due to appear before Ombudsman Rajmanlal Joseph on April 20, 2022.
The first hearing concerned a delay in the Corporation addressing a complaint about the erection of illegal structures on a government reserve.
The second hearing was in relation to the Corporation’s delay in addressing a complaint of the blockage of the roadway at Gittens Street, Tacarigua.
The Ombudsman noted that the Corporation CEO failed to appear to the hearings, as scheduled, and no excuse explaining her absence was sent to its Office’s Registry.
To date, the Ombudsman said no such excuse or lawful justification for Mills-Mark’s absence from the hearings has been received.
The Ombudsman noted that where public authorities fail to respond to requests for information in the conduct of investigations summons will be issued via the High Court to compel witnesses to appear and give evidence on oath and to produce documents relevant to the proceedings.
The Ombudsman reminded public officials that prompt collaboration with his Office is imperative in avoiding such measures being taken to secure their cooperation.
Under Section 10 of the Ombudsman Act 2:52, a person is liable on summary conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for six months who without lawful justification or excuse refuses or willfully fails to comply with any lawful requirement of the Ombudsman or any other person under the Ombudsman Act.
The Office of the Ombudsman said it’s committed to fulfilling its Constitutional mandate of investigating complaints of administrative injustice and will utilise all legislative measures in its power to facilitate the expeditious execution of its functions.
Since the Ombudsman’s appointment on May 19, 2021, 102 hearings have been conducted in relation to 210 matters under investigation.
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