Tue | Aug 22, 2017

I'm only human ... DPP explains blunder in Haughton's contracts scandal

Published:Thursday | November 26, 2015 | 11:42 PMDamion Mitchell, Editor - Radio & Online
DPP Paula Llewellyn: Our work is very onerous and perhaps it could have been an oversight.

The Director of Prosecution (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has sought to explain her blunder when she ruled in April this year that former Lucea Mayor Shernet Haughton should not be charged in the Hanover Parish Council contracts scandal.

This morning, it was revealed that after Contractor General Dirk Harrison took the matter to court to seek a judicial review, the DPP reversed her decision not to charge Haughton .

READ: Contractor General files application to overturn DPP's decision in Shernet Haughton case

When the matter was called up in chambers, the Office of the DPP presented an affidavit confirming that it had reversed its earlier position.

"I am only human," Llewllyn told Emily Shields on RJR’s Hotline.

"Our work is very onerous and perhaps it could have been an oversight," she added.

Llewellyn explained that her decision to withdraw her original position came during discussions with consulting attorney Lord Anthony Gifford and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel after the Contractor General served his court documents on her office.

"It was a minor disagreement in terms of interpretation," Llewellyn said.

READ: DPP rules no criminal charges against PNP councillor Shernet Haughton

She maintained that there was no offence known as nepotism as had been cited by the contractor general but noted that her consultations with Harrison and the Parliamentary Counsel revealed that Haughton would have breached procurement regulations when she failed to declare her relationship to several people who were awarded contracts under her stewardship as mayor of Hanover.

The Office of the Contractor General had found that 22 contracts, worth more than $3.7 million, were awarded to relatives and persons affiliated with the former mayor and referred the matter to the DPP for prosecution.

With the DPP's decision to reverse her position, the matter has now been sent to the police to start an investigation which means Haughton now faces the possibility of being charged in connection with her actions while she was mayor of the Hanover capital.

If Haughton is charged and convicted, she faces the possibility of a fine of $1,000 and or three months in prison on each count.