Former MP, wife referred to police for criminal investigation Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

After more than five years, due, in part, to a court injunction preventing the release of the findings of its report, the former Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has referred former Member of Parliament Ian Hayles and his wife, Charlotte, to the police for them to determine whether the two are in breach of several laws.

The referral is concerning alleged building breaches it was determined that Hayles undertook while he was the MP for Hanover Western, representing the then-governing People’s National Party (PNP).

Among other things, the OCG has asked the commissioner of police to determine whether Hayles and his wife are in breach of the Forgery Act in relation to buildings, including the plaza, that were constructed without the approval of the Hanover Parish Council.

The police commissioner has also been asked to determine whether Hayles breached the Corruption Prevention Act in relation to his reported attempts to get the former Mayor of Lucea, Shernet Haughton, to sign off on documents he wanted to be approved.

The 232-page Special Report states that Hayles disregarded cease and desist and other enforcement notices and proceeded to complete a plaza, initially approved for nine rooms, by constructing 20 rooms.

The long-in-coming report was delayed after Hayles got an injunction in the court preventing the release of its findings in 2017. But, in December 2022, the Supreme Court dismissed his application for leave to apply for judicial review regarding the release of the report.

The Integrity Commission, in which the OCG was subsumed, signalled then that the report would be made public, but the Parliament was on Christmas break. Findings of investigations by the Integrity Commission cannot be publicly released before they are tabled in Parliament.

The OCG’s report looked specifically at allegations of conflict of interest, irregularity and/or impropriety concerning the construction of Just One Plaza and ‘resort’ in Cousins Cove.

Among the allegations that triggered the investigation are that:

Family members of Hayles, his wife, her daughter, and his mother Pauline Gray, operate the company ‘Just One Service’, which undertook the development of a plaza in Orange Bay, Hanover, without approval.The allegation further stated that Hayles and family members constructed a plaza at Orange Bay square in Hanover with documents submitted to the Hanover Parish Council for another place, which is Mount Pleasant in Santoy.The former Mayor, Haughton, alleged that “…sometime between January or February of 2014… Hayles called me on the office phone at my office at the Hanover Parish Council and said he had some documents at the Hanover Parish Council, and he wanted me to grant him a favour. He asked me to sign and stamp the documents. I asked what documents they were, and he informed me that they were the documents for his land and plaza in Hanover.”Ian Hayles alleged that Judy McKenzie-Lawrence, the former secretary manager of Hanover Parish Council, promised to grant any request for approval made by him on the premise that he arranges for her to be transferred from the HPC to a Council “closer to home”.Charlotte Alexander Hayles alleged that sometime in June of 2013, Mrs McKenzie-Lawrence advised her by way of a telephone conversation that the building applications for Cousins Cove were approved and “…she just needed to sign off on the paperwork”.McKenzie-Lawrence alleged that, subsequent to serving the Stop Notice on Cousins Cove, Hayles called her on her office telephone and stated that she was targeting him.

The OCG said that, based upon the sworn responses it received as well as the documentary evidence submitted during its hearings, it arrived at several conclusions, including the following:

The developers of the ‘Just One Plaza’ initially applied to the parish council for the construction of nine shops and a supermarket. A total of 20 shops and a supermarket were constructed. The ‘Just One Plaza’ was constructed in the absence of a planning and building permit from the parish council, “and in wanton disregard for the Cease Work, Stop and Enforcement Notices which were served thereupon”.

The OCG noted that the proprietors of the Just One Plaza breached (a) Section 3 of the Parish Council Act and By-Laws 1952 by undertaking the construction of the plaza without the approval of the HPC and (b) Section 24 (3) of the Town and Planning Act, by continuing the construction of the plaza to the point of completion, after the enforcement notice being served.

Notwithstanding the option, which is available to the parish council to issue an ‘As Built Permit’, the OCG concluded that the parish council should also consider the enforcement of the punitive sanctions which are prescribed under Section 4 of the Parish Council Building Act and Sections 23 and 24(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act against the developers and/or owners of the ‘Just One Plaza’.

The OCG also found that given the time which has elapsed and the disregard of the referenced notices which were served in respect of the ‘Just One Plaza’, the responsible and accountable officers of the parish council failed to enforce any sanctions against the developers of the ‘Just One Plaza’.

“The OCG also considers this failure, on the part of the responsible and accountable officers of the Hanover Parish Council, to be tantamount to a dereliction of duties”.

The OCG also concluded, prima facie, that the “Sketch Plan of Cousins Cove Lot 23 and 24”, which was submitted to the HPC, in furtherance of the application for building and planning permission for the ‘Resort’, another development undertaken by Hayles, is a forged document.

The OCG’s premise is based upon the fact that the individual represented on the face of the said sketch plan as the surveyor has denied preparing the referenced document.

“In point of fact, [that individual] has unequivocally stated that the signature which appears on the document ‘…is clearly not my signature…'”

The OCG pointed out that the sketch plan of Cousins Cove Lot 23 and 24″ was submitted to the HPC in support of an application for a planning and building permit, by Kesmore Rattary on behalf of Alexander-Hayles.

It concluded that Alexander-Hayles authorised Rattary to submit the sketch plan along with the application for a building and planning permit to the parish council.

The OCG said Rattary indicated that he was unaware that the referenced sketch plan was forged. And, Alexander-Hayles advised the OCG, when questioned about whether she had provided Rattary with the mentioned sketch plan: “Honestly, I don’t remember some of the stuff them, to be honest, I don’t remember.”

Meanwhile, the OCG said it has seen no evidence to suggest that Hayles has a legal interest in the properties identified as the ‘Just One Plaza’ located in Orange Bay, Hanover, or the ‘Resort’ located in Cousins Cove, Hanover.

The land upon which the ‘Just One Plaza’ is situated is legally owned by Alfred Graham and Peter Taylor, with an equitable interest vesting in his wife’s daughter and Pauline Gray.

The ‘Resort’ is legally owned by Gerhard Hojan and Pauline Holgate (Hojan), with beneficial/equitable interest vesting in Alexander-Hayles and Gray (the wife and mother of the former MP) in accordance with Agreements for Sale.

Based on its conclusions, the OCG has made the following referrals:

Charlotte Alexander-Hayles and Ian Hayles 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.For further criminal investigations concerning the 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.Hayes and his wife to the commissioner of police for further investigation pursuant to Sections 3, 5 and 9 of the Forgery Act 1942Notwithstanding Rattary’s disclosure that he was not aware that the documents were fraudulent, the OCG has also referred Kesmore Rattary to the commissioner of police to determine whether he committed a breach of the Forgery Act or any Act as an agent in furtherance of the process of submitting the said application form.Hayles to the commissioner of police for further investigation in respect of the allegations made by the former Mayor of Lucea concerning the attempt to influence the actions of a public officer in the lawful conduct of her duties contrary to Section 14(7) of the Corruption Prevention Act (CPA).Its report to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Denzil Thorpe for 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, Hanover.