Trinidad and Tobago has anti-corruption legislation on par with the US and the UK, but appears to have a lack of will to enact it, giving a corruption perception index significantly higher than these other countries, Ernst and Young fraud expert Arnold Niranjan has said.
“We are quagmired with corruption allegations...We have several pieces of legislation. There have been cases hung in the legal system for years still with an outcome to be determined for them to be tried. What is it? Is it lack of will? Disinterest? Indifference? Apathy? It certainly cannot be that we don’t have the legislation to pursue these cases,” said Niranjan.
Niranjan, who is a partner at Ernst and Young Caribbean Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS), was speaking at the firm’s Fraud Investigations-Perspectives and Analytical Approaches seminar yesterday at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel, Port of Spain.
Niranjan put it out to the audience if they had suggestions to counteract the inertia.
One member suggested a concentration of resources and the establishment at the High Court level of a commercial court to address complicated commercial litigation including allegations of corporate misconduct and fraud.
He recommended there be a judge with a background in corporate law to deal with these cases.
Niranjan also weighed in on the increased potential at State enterprises for fraud opportunities.
“Change of directors that accompany change of government is a dilemma. There are only a certain finite set of solutions one can adopt. It’s a long torturous process really about integrity and the need to do the right thing. No amount of structures and systems will work if the people you put in there are not determined or intend to do the right thing because the opportunity will be there,” he said.