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COI seeks deadline extension to report findings

COI seeks deadline extension to report findings

The Commission of Inquiry (COI) has sought an extension of the July deadline previously assigned to deliver a report on his findings.

COI Secretary Steven Chandler said in a statement on Wednesday that it has become clear Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom will not make next month’s deadline because of “the deficient state of the documents produced and the sheer weight of issues” brought to his attention for investigation.

“He has therefore sought an extension from His Excellency the Governor who has been kind enough to indicate that he is, in principle, willing to grant such an extension,” Chandler stated.

However, he said Governor John Rankin has asked the Commissioner to report on the progress of the COI by mid-July, “before he appoints a date by which he will require the Commissioner to report”.

“The Commissioner remains committed to completing his investigation into the subject matter under inquiry and delivering his report with all due speed,” Chandler added.

This news came during the COI’s first live-stream hearing; the next of which is scheduled to resume on June 14.

During yesterday’s live hearing, the COI received submissions from attorney-at-law Hussein Haeri, who appeared on behalf of Attorney General Dawn Smith.

The submissions were about the Commission’s request to receive records of Cabinet’s discussions over the last year. Haeri submitted that Cabinet was willing to submit its agendas, finalised minutes of meetings, drafts and notes on these meetings, as well as Cabinet Decisions (part of the Cabinet minutes) but was not in favour of releasing any audio recordings.

The COI was issued on January 19, 2021 to look into whether corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place amongst public, elected and statutory officials in recent years; and to make appropriate recommendations as to governance and the operation of the law enforcement and justice systems in the BVI.

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