Thu | Aug 24, 2017

OCG cites nepotism again at Hanover Parish Council

Published:Saturday | May 14, 2016 | 5:00 AM

Contractor General Dirk Harrison has asked the director of public prosecutions to take action against two councillors in the Hanover Parish Council who recommended dozens of government contracts valued at millions of dollars to family members and political affiliates.

Harrison said a special investigation conducted by his office has raised questions of misconduct and breaches of government laws and procedures by People's National Party councillor for the Sandy Bay Division, Lloyd Hill, and for the Cauldwell Division, Anthony Walker.

The contractor general said that between 2012 and 2014, Hill recommended five family members and two political affiliates for 69 government contracts valued at approximately

$9.4 million.

Harrison said 65 contracts, with a cumulative value of approximately $8.7 million, were subsequently awarded to these persons by the parish council.

The contractor general said that over the same period, Walker made 30 recommendations for contracts amounting to approximately $2.5 million to a combined five family members and 10 political affiliates.

He said from the recommendations made by Walker, 20 contracts were awarded with a cumulative value of more than $2 million from the parish council.

The head of the contracts oversight body said that in relation to Walker, one of the contracts was awarded to his sister with the purpose of buying a refrigerator for their mother.

 

PROBE FINDINGS

 

The contractor general also said that he found, among the cases, contracts awarded to the mother and stepfather of Hill's wife after they entered into an agreement with the parish council to use their lands.

Harrison said that the probe found that some persons who received contracts from Hill and Walker lacked the knowledge and skills to carry out the projects.

He said that the probe did not find any evidence that the councillors collected monies from the award of contracts made to their relatives and political affiliates.

But, Harrison noted that they did not declare their family relationships or conflicts of interest when they made recommendations to the parish council for the award of the contracts.

The contractor general contends that their actions highlight nepotism and favouritism, as well as breaches of government procurement laws and regulations.

"The recommendations for the award of contracts by both Mr Walker and Mr Hill were unethical and amount to a conflict of interest or nepotism and favouritism. As public servants, in the execution of their public function, they advanced a private interest, which resulted in a monetary benefit to their family members and persons politically affiliated to them. In this respect, the numerous instances evidenced in this report collectively contravened the principles of integrity and good governance," read the report.

"Consideration must be given as to whether Councillors Lloyd Hill and Anthony Walker, in this regard, breached the Corruption (Prevention) Act, and whether they obtained an illicit benefit for themselves or other persons in their capacity as public servants," the report stated.