McKenzie orders immediate audit of Hanover Parish Council
Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie has ordered an immediate audit of the Hanover Parish Council and he wants it to be completed in three weeks.
McKenzie who was at the council this morning, says a team of senior officials from the ministry including the Chief Internal Auditor and Procurement Officer will conduct an in-depth review on the conduct of the council.
"The Ministry of Local Government with immediate effect is taking full control of all documents here at the Hanover Parish Council," he said adding that he has advised the Mayor and Secretary/Manager to ensure the audit team is given "uncompromising support".
"Any act of defiance will be treated as an act of treason," McKenzie said.
According to the minister, the Hanover Parish Council has lost credibility and needs a complete overhaul.
There has been increased attention on the council since the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) revealed that two councillors - Lloyd Hill of the Sandy Bay Division, and Anthony Walker of the Cauldwell division - recommended dozens of government contracts valued at millions of dollars to family members and political affiliates.
IN PHOTO: Former Lucea mayor Lloyd Hill
The minister slammed the political and administrative arms of the Hanover Parish Council, for failing to carry out the mandate of local government with integrity.
He said the team would also be investigating the issue of council lands being sold to persons without approval from the Ministry.
McKenzie also ordered that all councillors at the Council must provide proof they have made their annual submissions to the Corruption Prevention Commission and said the Ministry would also be looking at the operations of the administrative staff, as the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) had raised concern about their role in aiding and abetting certain activities of the councillors.
According to McKenzie, the council has flagrantly flouted the recommendations of the OCG which had been made more than a year ago when former mayor Shernet Haughton was cited for similar breaches as Hill and Walker.
IN PHOTO: Former Lucea Mayor Shernet Haughton
"The HPC (Hanover Parish Council) has not made a move to institute any of the findings of the OCG. What the HPC has said is that 'well we don't have to do anything; it is business as usual!"