Integrity Commission says it will not revisit FLA report

Robert
Montague’s efforts to be absolved of the wrongdoing he was accused of in an Integrity Commission 2017 special investigation report on the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) has borne no fruit, with the anti-corruption body standing firm in its decision not to revisit the aspect of the report which relates to the St Mary Western Member of Parliament.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament in 2022, had concluded that Montague, along with Peter Bunting, had acted improperly in the award of gun licences to men of “questionable character” during their tenures as national security minister.

On two occasions over the last two weeks, Montague, on the motion for adjournment in the House, voiced his objection to an addendum to the report tabled last week in which the commission vindicated Bunting but said it had no reason to disturb the report in relation to Montague.

In both statements, Montague accused the anti-corruption body of being biased towards him in their handling of the investigation and subsequent report and addendum.

“The commission seems to do its work with one rule for some and another rule for others,” Montague said on Tuesday, repeating the accusation he first made when he spoke on the matter in the House.

In a brief public statement issued via Twitter on Tuesday night, the chairman of the Integrity Commission, Justice (Ret’d) Seymour Panton, advised that there will be no further changes in the FLA Investigation Report.

The statement, which was posted at 9:49 pm, went on to advise “that anyone who has an issue in relation to the report should go to the Judicial Review Court”.

Panton had also stated that an official media release would be issued on Wednesday regarding Tuesday’s proceedings in the House of Representatives, but he confirmed late Wednesday that no release will be forthcoming.

On Tuesday, Montague criticised the commission and offered as evidence of bias against him correspondence between former Contractor General Dirk Harrison and Bunting in relation to a firearm licence application which, he said, was not included in the commission’s special investigation report or the addendum.

He hinted at a cover-up and questioned whether there is a personal relationship between Bunting and Harrison, who was then lead investigator and Contractor General.

“It is now manifestly clear that they had a judgement and a verdict before, during, and after the investigation. They did not come with clean hands. The foundation of the report cannot stand. It is rotten to the core and should not stand. Not declaring his [Harrison’s] involvement leaves a very bad taste.”

Calls to Harrison’s cellular phone for a response up to press time went unanswered.