Former mayor in Jamaica slapped with corruption charges

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KINGSTON, Jamaica– A former mayor in Jamaica has been charged with misconduct in public office and breaches of the public sector procurement regulation.

Shernett Haughton, who resigned as Mayor of Lucea in April 2014, appeared in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the charges that stem from allegedly giving contracts to friends and relatives.

A report by the Office of the Contractor General, which was submitted to Parliament in March last year, accused Haughton of nepotism and criminal offences in the Hanover Parish Council’s award of 22 contracts valued at J$3.7 million (US$29,850) to her relatives, including her husband, and other affiliates.

“She will be fighting robustly and vigorously the allegations made against her,” Haughton’s attorney, Delford Morgan, told the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

“I expect that when she is vindicated, the legislator or the executive will make the appropriate amendments to the existing regulations to prevent what has happened from recurring.”

Criminal investigations into Haughton began last November after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn ruled the official was criminally liable for her actions.

Contractor General Dirk Harrison had argued that Haughton should be criminally charged but the DPP initially dismissed his interpretation of the regulations, ruling that Haughton, who remains the ruling People’s National Party councillor for the Green Island Division of the Hanover Parish Council, had no criminal charge to answer.

However, seven months later, the DPP reversed her decision.

 

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