Warmington off the hook - MP 'vindicated' after DPP decides not to press charges on OCG's recommendation
Parliamentarian Everald Warmington has declared that the director of public prosecutions' (DPP) decision against filing criminal charges against him has underscored his characterisation in 2010 of former Contractor General Greg Christie as an "overzealous idiot" and a "mental case".
DPP Paula Llewellyn revealed yesterday that her office would not prefer criminal charges against the controversial South West St Catherine member of parliament (MP).
The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) had referred Warmington to the DPP for criminal prosecution in August 2010, alleging that the MP might have committed an offence under the Perjury Act.
The referral followed a special investigation into allegations of impropriety and irregularity in the award of several contracts to SCCL, a company allegedly linked to the MP.
The OCG had accused Warmington of providing conflicting information in sworn statements to the contract oversight body, which was at variance with information gleaned from the National Contracts Commission (NCC).
CONFLICT WITH STATEMENTS
In a special report of investigation, the OCG concluded that "there is a gross disconnect and conflict between the sworn statements which were submitted to the OCG by Mr Clifford Warmington and the previous sworn declarations which have been made by him on the application forms which were submitted to the NCC".
Llewellyn said yesterday that without more, there was insufficient evidentiary material at this time which could form the basis of criminal proceedings against Warmington for the offences of perjury and breach of Section 29 of the Contractor General's Act at the requisite standard of proof in the criminal law, which was proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The DPP also indicated that no charges would be brought against the directors of SCCL, Lloyd Grant, Howard Charvis, Selvyn Foster, Leslie Henry and Nicole Warmington.
Llewellyn said Warmington had maintained that he did not have a financial interest in SCCL.
She said her office examined documentary exhibits 50 and 51. The former was a letter dated October 24, 2006, which was submitted to the Bank of Nova Scotia and purported to be signed by Clifford E. Warmington and Nicole Warmington. Everald Warmington's actual first name is Clifford.
After examining the mentioned exhibits, the DPP said her office found that Charvis and Grant were the signatories.
"Messrs Charvis and Grant have admitted to the OCG that they are signatories to exhibits 50 and 51 and that they made false representations to the Bank of Nova Scotia concerning Mr Clifford E. Warmington's financial interest in SCCL.
"These admissions could not be considered as wilfully misleading the OCG. The entity which was wilfully misled was BNS and that, by itself, without more, is not a criminal offence, unless it was part and parcel of a larger scheme to defraud," the DPP stated.
Just a day after his harsh critique of Christie in 2010, Warmington said his characterisations of the contractor general as an "overzealous idiot" and a "mental case" were disrespectful and inappropriate and he unreservedly withdrew the comments.
But yesterday, seemingly buoyed by the DPP's ruling, Warmington appeared to have another change of heart.
"I say he is a mental case and I stand by that …. . Only a mental case would come to a conclusion and then frame an argument to suit or fit the conclusion itself," he told The Gleaner at Gordon House yesterday.
"When I referred to the OCG at the outset as being an idiot, today it shows clearly that I was correct."
He added: "His actions - not only in this, but many other cases - are totally reprehensible. I hope we do not have another mental case to head such an important department of Jamaica."
The South West St Catherine MP said he felt vindicated by the ruling, even though his reputation had been stained by the contractor general, who he said "acts outside of his remit and with no regard for the damage (which) false and erroneous allegations can have on decent and law-abiding citizens".
He said: "I am a living example of this. For the past two and a half years, I have been forced to live under a cloud of suspicion, and now I am happy that I have been vindicated by the ruling of the DPP."