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JM | Jan 25, 2023

OCG refers former MP Ian Hayles and his family to police

/ Our Today

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Former Member of Parliament Ian Hayles. (Photo: Facebook @PeterBuntingJA)

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has referred the police to conduct a criminal investigation regarding allegations of forgery against Ian Hayles, former member of parliament (MP) for Hanover Western and his wife, Charlotte Alexander-Hayles.

The OCG, which has been subsumed into the Integrity Commission, made the referral having carried out an investigation on April 24, 2015 into the alleged construction of several buildings, without the approval of the Hanover Parish Council, by the Hayles.

In its 232-page report to Parliament, the OCG referred the case to the commissioner of police for further investigation, having found prima facie evidence of forgery, given that the referenced sketch plan is a false document.

According to the report, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday (January 24), “the OCG’s referral is also being made for further criminal investigations with respect to the subject sketch plan and the maker(s) of such a false document which gives rise to the offence of ‘conspiracy’ to defraud the Hanover Parish Council.

The instant referral is being made based upon the submission of a “sketch plan of Part of Cousins Cove Lot 23 and 24” which was submitted to the Hanover Parish Council by building consultant Kesmore Rattray in furtherance of obtaining planning and building permission.”

Forged sketch plan provided

The OCG reports that Rattray was authorised by Alexander-Hayles to conduct business on her behalf with respect to the referenced application adding that Rattary was provided with the referenced sketch plan by Alexander-Hayles.

(Photo: Lawyer Monthly)

The sketch plan was part of Cousins Cove Lot 23 and 24, purported to have been prepared and signed by Andrew Bromfield.

However, when questioned by the OCG, Bromfield distanced himself and his firm from the preparation of the document when he advised the OCG that the document was not prepared by him and that his signature had been forged.

The OCG declared that “the document is a false document, and its source is to be determined accordingly. The Contractor General is hereby referring Ian Hayles and Charlotte Alexander-Hayles to the Commissioner of Police for further investigation pursuant to Sections 3, 5 and 9 of the Forgery Act 1942.”

 Notwithstanding Rattray’s disclosure that he was not aware that the documents were fraudulent, the OCG is referring him to the commissioner of police in order to determine whether he committed a breach of the Forgery Act or any Act as an agent in submitting the forged sketch plan.

The OCG is also referring the former MP and state minister to the commissioner of police for further investigation in respect of the allegations which were made by former Mayor of Lucea, Shernet Haughton concerning the attempt to influence the actions of a public officer in the lawful conduct of her duties contrary to the Section 14(7) Corruption Prevention Act (CPA).

This referral is also being made to the commissioner of police for further investigation in respect of whether the aforementioned acts by Hayles gives rise to a conflict of interest.

Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson.

The OCG is referring Hayles’ mother, Pauline Gray to the police commissioner for further investigation regarding the circumstances under which Lot 24, Cousins Cove, Hanover, was sold to her by Pauline Hojan and Gerhard Hojan.

The OCG also referred a copy of its report to Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie and his permanent secretary, Denzil Thorpe, for their considered action on the failure of the Hanover Parish Council to employ the applicable sanctions commensurate to the breaches perpetrated by the principals of the ‘Just One Plaza’ and Cousins Cove developed by the Hayles.

The aforementioned developments were undertaken without the issuance of planning and building permits from the Hanover Parish Council and, as such, breached Section 3 of the Parish Councils Act.

OCG recommendations

In light of the foregoing and having regard to the findings and conclusions detailed in the report, the OCG recommended that an accountability framework or guideline be developed for public officers who are involved in the approval and monitoring of building applications and permits.

In an effort to ensure effective enforcement of the local planning and building laws/regulations, it is further recommended that the accountability framework or policy include specific and appropriate sanctions for public officers who are either complicit or negligent in their lawful responsibilities and who do not exercise due care in enforcing the sanctions for breaches associated with building permits or development orders.

The OCG believes that these measures will guard against abuses of Jamaica building application and permits systems. The OCG also recommended that the Ministry of Local Government undertake a review of the ‘As Built’ or ‘Retention’ Permit facility with a view of determining whether in its current form, it serves the intended purpose and whether the application of this facility is in keeping with international best practices.

Additionally, the OCG has recommended that the ministry formulate and enforce strict requirements for the application and utilisation of the ‘As Built’ or ‘Retention’ Permit for the practice of issuing permits for developments which were undertaken prior to the issuance of a permit.

The OCG is of the considered view that in its current form, the application of the ‘As Built’ or ‘Retention’ Permit’ may be subject to abuse. This is on the basis that it may serve as a tool and a ‘loophole’ which legitimises the breach of building and planning regulations.

The OCG said, “facilitation or legitimisation of illegal structures also has implications for the ideals of rural and urban planning, which seeks to systematically ensure the proper use of land and infrastructure, the protection of the environment and public welfare. The OCG urges state agencies to apply greater levels of scrutiny and diligence in the verification exercises which are geared toward determining the authenticity and credibility of tendered documents”.

This, according to the OCG, may serve to reduce the incidence of forged, erroneous and or incomplete documents being accepted as valid and authentic and may further serve to reduce the susceptibility of state agencies to the commission of fraud by unscrupulous and or uninformed persons, as the case may be.

It is also being recommended that state agencies implement and enforce a requirement which would make mandatory the submission of original documents; and in lieu of this, only authorise the acceptance of copied documents which have been duly certified or attested to as a true copy.

The OCG recommended that all parish councils and local authorities mandatorily prepare an ‘affidavit of service’ or a system to record the issuance of cease work, stop and enforcement notices.

The OCG said it is “strongly recommending that the ministry and the administration of all parish councils conduct an audit or verification process with a view to regularise and enforce the requisite sanctions against developments which have been constructed in breach of the relevant pieces of legislation, protocols, guidelines and regulations”.

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