Mon | Jan 30, 2023

'Vindicated' Hayles dubs corruption report a fishing expedition

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2023 | 1:23 AM

People’s National Party (PNP) Vice President Ian Hayles has poured scorn on an Integrity Commission’s (IC) report referring him, his wife, and mother to the police for criminal investigation.

It “is not worth the paper it is printed on,” said the ex-parliamentarian hours after the tabling of the 232-page report on Tuesday.

The report’s release had been the subject of a years-long court battle until late last month.

It said that both Hayles, who formerly represented Hanover Western, and his wife, Charlotte, were being referred “for further investigation, having found prima facie evidence of forgery” relating to the sketch plan of the Cousins Cove resort property in Green Island, Hanover.

The IC also made a referral for further criminal investigations with respect to the sketch plan and the maker(s) of the “false document”, which it said gives rise to the offence of conspiracy to defraud the then Hanover Parish Council.

Hayles was also referred for criminal investigation after the Office of the Contractor General, now subsumed into the IC, determined that he sought to influence a public officer.

That public officer is Shernet Haughton, former mayor of Lucea and PNP councillor, who was in 2019 freed of charges of misconduct in a public office in relation to a separate matter.

Hayles’ mother, Pauline Gray, was also referred to the police for further investigation with respect to the circumstances under which the Cousins Cove property was sold to her.

The report was prepared following allegations of conflict of interest, and impropriety, in the construction of Just One Plaza and Cousins Cove without the approval of the now-municipal corporation.

On Tuesday, Hayles maintained, in a Gleaner interview, that the report is a “fishing expedition”.

“I’ve been vindicated. There is nothing there that speaks to government funds. There’s nothing there that speaks to anything unethical on my part,” he asserted.

“I am the one who took them to court in terms of stopping the report. Anybody can cause mischief and mischief was caused. Anybody who is bad mind and grudgeful can cause mischief,” he said.

Hayles had obtained a court injunction in 2017 blocking the tabling of the report, but the Supreme Court last December dismissed his application for leave to apply for judicial review regarding its release.