Insufficient evidence of culpability on the part of Haughton in Hanover Parish Council procurement probe

The Integrity Commission has recommended that the Ministry of Local Government initiate an investigation into protocols and standard operating procedures at the Hanover Municipal Corporation in relation to the signing of  cheques.

This follows a probe by the Commission's Director of Investigations into allegations of impropriety and irregularity in the signing of  cheques by then Mayor of  Lucea, Shernet Haughton, in relation to a contract to construct a drain adjacent to the Lucea Transport Centre.

The Director of Investigations concluded that there was insufficient evidence to corroborate allegations against Miss Haughton that she demanded $200,000 in exchange for the signing of cheques in favour of  the contractor.

The Director of Investigations concluded however that the then Hanover Parish Council, deliberately splintered the contract. As a result, the direct contracting procurement procedures were applied rather than the limited tender procurement procedures.

The limited tender procurement procedures would have required the Parish Council to invite at least three registered contractors to provide quotations.

In a report tabled Tuesday in the House of  Representatives, the Director of  Investigations said, with regards to the deliberate action by the Hanover Parish Council to splinter the contract, the Local Government Ministry should immediately ensure that officers of  the Hanover Municipal Corporation abide by procurement guidelines.

It has also been recommended that the accountable officers at the municipal corporation take a more proactive role in implementing risk management systems.

The Director of  Investigations says this will prevent undue influence by members of  the political and administrative directorate who are required to sign cheques.



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