CUSTOMS OFFICER LEON NATTA LAUNCHES COURT CHALLENGE AGAINST CIVIL SERVICE ACT

Leon Natta and Sylvester Anthony
Leon Natta and Sylvester Anthony

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 29, 2018 – Senior Customs Officer/Accountant at Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise, Mr. Leon Natta has moved the High Court in Basseterre to challenge the code of conduct and ethics rules that prohibit public servants from engaging in politics.

WINNFM reports that Natta’s attorney, Sylvester Anthony, has confirmed the civil action by Leon Natta who was suspended by the Human Resource Department in the Office of Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris.

“There are two provisions in the code of conduct that have the effect of preventing public servants from becoming involved in politics. So he has filed the constitutional challenge to those provisions,” Anthony told WINNFM.

Anthony noted that Natta had mounted the legal challenge before he was suspended.

“There have been disciplinary charges brought against him by the government in respect of his employment claiming that he is involved in politics. However, prior to those disciplinary charges, we filed a constitutional challenge to the sections of the Public Service Code that prevent public servants from becoming involved in politics, that challenge was filed last week (October 14 – 19).”

Natta is currently facing charges with regards to failing to renew his firearms license. That charge was brought on October 10 and he was suspended from his job on that same day with half salary.

The letter from the Human Resource Management Department in the Office of Prime Minister Harris to Mr. Natta said it has received “an adverse report of his involvement in political activity” thus contravening the Public Service (Conduct and Ethics of Officers) Code.

The letter alleges “that on or about the end of June 2018, you Leon Natta, did introduce yourself to a resident of Christ Church Village, Christ Church, St. Kitts, as a candidate of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party running against the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris for the next general election.”

The Office of Prime Minister Harris also alleges that Mr. Natta “on or about the end of June 2018 did seek to solicit and or canvass support for your political campaign from a resident of Christ Church Village, Christ Church, St. Kitts.”

According to Section 38 of the Public Service Conduct and Ethics of Officers, “a) A public officer shall not engage in party political activity at any time including holding office or taking an active part in any political organization and d) canvassing in support for any political party or candidate…”.

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