The Office of the Contractor General, OCG, says its investigations have found that the former Mayor of Lucea and Chairman of the Hanover Parish Council, Shernet Haughton, is guilty of nepotism, conflicts of interest and impropriety in the award of government contracts.

According to the OCG report tabled in Parliament today, Mayor Haughton, awarded 22 contracts worth almost 4-million dollars to family members and friends between March 2012 and April 2014.

The report says this amounted to 12 percent of Mayor Haughton’s allocation of 30-million dollars over that period.

The OCG identified 9 family members who benefited from contracts made by the Parish Council over the period.

These included her spouse, daughter, son, nephew-in-law, sister, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece.

The OCG says the award of contracts to the related persons was a direct result of the recommendations made by Mayor Haughton.

It says in making the recommendations, the former Mayor failed to declare that she had a personal
or prejudicial interest in relation to these contracts and contractors.

The OCG report says it rejects the notion advanced by Mayor Haughton that she had not been introduced to issues of ethics prior to assuming the role of Councillor/Mayor as untrue.

It dismissed that argument by Haughton as a fabrication and a failed attempt to plead ignorance.

And, the OCG says during the course of its investigation Haughton sought to have the Secretary Manager of the Parish Council make changes to Parish Council records.

It says the former Mayor asked the Secretary Manager to allow contractors to write letters to be placed on Parish Council records and/or have them sign acknowledging receipt of their cheques, with retroactive dates.

The OCG concluded that the selection process of contractors used by the Hanover Parish Council is devoid of checks and balances that are necessary for proper transparency and accountability.