Family affair ... Two more Hanover councillors in trouble over contract awards
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
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 says a special investigation conducted by his office has raised questions of misconduct and breaches of government laws and procedures by the People’s National Party councillor for the Sandy Bay Division, Lloyd Hill, and the Cauldwell Division councillor, Anthony Walker.
The contractor general says between 2012 and 2014 Hill recommended five family members and two political affiliates for 69 government contracts valued approximately $9.4 million.
Harrison also says 65 contracts with a cumulative value of approximately $8.7 million were subsequently awarded to these persons by the parish council.
According to the contractor general, over the same period, Walker made 30 recommendations for contracts amounting to approximately $2.5 million to five family members and 10 political affiliates.
He says from the recommendations made by Walker, 20 contracts with a cumulative value of more than two million dollars were awarded by the parish council.
In relation to Walker, one of the contracts was awarded to his sister to buy a refrigerator for their mother.
The contractor general says he found among the cases, contracts awarded to the mother and step father of Hill’s wife after they entered into an agreement with the parish council to use their lands.
Harrison further says the probe found that some persons who received contracts from Hill and Walker lacked the knowledge and skills to carry out the projects.
He says the probe did not find any evidence that the councillors collected monies from the award of the contracts to their relatives and political affiliates but at the same time, the politicians 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.
Former Lucea mayor Shernet Haughton is now facing the possibility of criminal charges after the Office of the Contractor General found that 22 contracts, worth more than $3.7 million, were awarded to relatives and persons affiliated with her.