The Act requires parliamentarians to declare their businesses and other interests into the register immediately upon acceding office and on the anniversary of that date each year thereafter.
Declaring interests after the specified date, or not at all, constitutes a breach and the Speaker was found to have violated the Act. This was acknowledged by himself and his Attorney, Richard Rowe of Silk Legal.
Days after that admission Willock held a press conference attempting to introduce new evidence which he said vindicated him of the reported breach. He further alleged that COI Commissioner, Sir Gary Hickinbottom refused him an audience to share his discovery.
Sir Gary attempted to put the entire fracas to rest at the latest COI hearing held last week.
He noted that some of the press reports on the matter were “confused” and said the COI’s position on the matter was very straightforward.
Sir Gary said the documents the Speaker produced for the COI, along with the documents he sent the Registrar of Interests, show clearly the dates on which they were submitted.
“Where documentary evidence is clear and uncontroversial. It is, of course, unnecessary to hear any oral evidence about it,” Sir Gary said. “Hopefully that will have made the position clear for those who have been struggling with it.”