Rumours hurting Othneil - Former MP looks to OCG to clear his name in land-purchase controversy
Former Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence is seeking to clear the air as allegations swirl about his 2007 purchase of a parcel of government land.
"It seems some persons are intent on causing mischief and to damage my character with these malicious rumours and allegations," Lawrence told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I am tired of this so I have asked my attorney to write to the contractor general and have him investigate the sale. I have to protect my character and reputation," he added.
According to Lawrence who was elected member of parliament for North West St Ann in the 2007 general election on a Jamaica Labour Party ticket he purchased a parcel of land in Cardiff Hall, St Ann, from the parish council for almost $7 million.
"The purchase was facilitated through a loan from a commercial bank in St Ann. The purchase had started in 2004 and took some three years, under the previous PNP government.
"This purchase was done after going through a bidding process, involving the land being advertised for sale in The Gleaner. The purchase, as the record will show, was completely above board, having followed all the guidelines for the purchasing of government lands," said Lawrence.
He told The Sunday Gleaner that after the JLP's defeat in the 2011 general election, his opponents started spreading rumours that he stole government land that was designated for the building of a clinic for the community.
"Although the allegations were made during the political silly season, they are extremely damaging and are hurting my family so I have to seek to put an end to this once and for all," said Lawrence.
He said he has asked the contractor general to carry out a full investigation into the purchase and make his findings public.
"The contractor general has confirmed receipt of my request and has asked that I instruct my then attorney to make all documents available to his office, and I intend to do so," said Lawrence.
Last Friday, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) told our news team it was not prepared to comment on the matter at this time.
According to Lawrence, he was an MP at the time the purchase was done, "so I had to have received the approval of the Ethics Committee of Parliament, which was chaired by a member of the opposition. I am going to the highest level to clear my name because my reputation is important to me".