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PNP's failure to dismiss Azan could bring down the government - Holness

Published:Wednesday | September 18, 2013 | 8:51 AM

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is warning the People’s National Party administration not to await a decision from the Director of Public Prosecutions before it takes disciplinary action against Junior Works Minister Richard Azan.

In a report tabled in Parliament yesterday, the Contractor General recommended that the DDP convene criminal proceeding against Mr. Azan and three others in relation to the Spalding Market Affair.

When the matter was highlighted in April, the PNP stated that it would await the OCG report before taking action against Mr. Azan and criticised those calling for his resignation.

In response to the OCG report yesterday, the Local Government Ministry said it will now await the outcome of the referrals to the DPPs office in relation to the matter.

But Mr. Holness says the government’s failure to dismiss Mr. Azan has the potential to bring down the PNP administration.

"I think that the report carried out by the local government department, when placed beside the report of the Contractor General, that, that report fails into insignificance," said Holness.

"I think the report that is of greatest standing would be that of the Contractor General and the Contractor General's report I think give the Prime Minister and the local government department, a basis on which to take administrative action. They don't need to wait on the DPP to take criminal action, they need to preserve the integrity of both the ministry and the Office of the Prime Minister by acting immediately."

Mr. Holness is insisting that Mr. Azan resign.

The junior works minister says he plans to release a statement responding to the matter after consulting with the Prime Minister and his lawyers

Mr. Azan, who is the Member Parliament for North West Clarendon, has already admitted that he instructed a private contractor, John Bryant, to construct 10 shops at the market last September without the permission of the Clarendon Parish Council.

The Contractor General has also recommended that criminal action be taken against Mr. Bryant and Mr. Azan’s secretary, Bridget Daley-Dixon, who acted as an intermediary in collecting the rent.

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