Former Member of Parliament for Hanover Western, Ian Hayles and his wife Charlotte Alexander-Hayles, have been referred to the Commissioner of Police by the former Office of the Contractor General (OCG) for further investigations.
Specifically, the OCG has asked the Commissioner to determine whether Hayles and his wife committed forgery in relation to buildings that were constructed in Hanover without the approval of the Hanover Parish Council (HPC) and whether Hayles, the former People’s National Party MP, breached the Corruption Prevention Act. This is in relation to allegations that Hayles pressured the then Mayor of Lucea, Shernett Haughton, in his bid to get her to approve documents for his illegal constructions.
The long-awaited report of the OCG, which has since been subsumed by the Integrity Commission, was tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday. The contents within its 232 pages are as explosive as they are damning.
The Special Report which looked into allegations of conflict of interest, irregularity and/or impropriety in relation to the construction of buildings by Hayles, a former Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change, commenced on April 24, 2015.
Among the allegations that sparked the investigation are that:
-Family members of Hayles, namely his wife and her daughter Keisha Gayle Alexander 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 his 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 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 that they were the documents for his land and Plaza in Hanover.”
- Mr Michael Grant, the spouse of Miss Haughton, alleged that on or about January 2014, Hayles telephoned him and stated that he had requested that Miss Haughton sign certain documents, which she refused to sign, and that “...she cannot stay there as a Mayor because she not working with me.”
- Hayles alleged Judy McKenzie-Lawrence, the former Secretary Manager, HPC, 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 alleged that sometime in June of 2013, 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.
Based upon the sworn responses provided to the OCG, as well as the documentary evidence submitted during the course of its hearings, the OCG arrived at several conclusions, including the following:
-The developers of the ‘Just One Plaza’ initially applied to the HPC 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 HPC, “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 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, subsequent to the enforcement notice being served.
- Notwithstanding the option, which is available to the HPC to issue an ‘As Built Permit’, the OCG concluded that the HPC 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 HPC 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 HPC, 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 Andrew Bromfield, who is represented on the face of the said sketch plan as the surveyor, has denied preparing the referenced document.
“In point of fact, Mr Bromfield has unequivocally stated that the signature which appears on the document “...is clearly not my signature...”
“It was further explained by Mr Bromfield that the logo which appeared on the referenced document was no longer in use by his company as at the date which was reflected on the subject sketch plan”.
The OCG report notes that Section 3(1) of the Forgery Act 1942 states that forgery “... is the making of a false document in order that it may be used as genuine.
Section 3(2) of the referenced Act also indicates that “A document is false within the meaning of this Act if the whole or any material part thereof purports to be made by, or on behalf of, or on account of a person who did not make it nor authorize its making;...”174
Section 5(3) (j) of the Forgery Act stipulates that the penalty for the forging of a builder’s certificate and/or a surveyor’s certificate is imprisonment with hard labour for a term not exceeding seven years.
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 Mrs Charlotte Alexander-Hayles.
It concluded that Alexander-Hayles, by way of a letter of authorisation, authorised Rattary to submit the forged sketch plan along with the application for building and planning permit to the HPC.
Of note, Rattary advised the OCG that he was unaware that the referenced sketch plan was forged. Alexander-Hayles also advised the OCG of the following, when questioned about whether she had provided Mr 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 National Land Agency (NLA) clarified its initial advice in 2014 that the legal title of the parcel of land on which the ‘Just One Plaza’ is located vests in the Commissioner of Lands. In fact, the legal title of the said parcel of land vests in the names of Mr. Alfred Graham and Mr. Peter Taylor, the executors of Zada Taylor and the vendors of the named property.
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 Dr Kesha Gaye Alexander-Gabbadon and Mrs Pauline Gray.
The ‘Resort’ is legally owned by Gerhard Hojan and Pauline Holgate (Hojan), with beneficial/equitable interest vesting in Mrs Charlotte Alexander and Ms Pauline Gray (the wife and mother of Mr Hayles) in accordance with Agreements for Sale.
Based on its conclusions, the OCG has made the following referrals:
- Mrs Charlotte Alexander-Hayles and Mr 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.
-The OCG’s referral is also being made for further criminal investigations with respect to 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 are also referred to the Commissioner of Police for further investigation pursuant to Sections 3, 5 and 9 of the Forgery Act 1942
-Notwithstanding Kesmore Rattary’s disclosure that he was not aware that the documents were fraudulent, the OCG has also referred 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 furtherance of the process of submitting the said application form.
-Hayles is also referred to the Commissioner of Police for further investigation in respect of the allegations which were 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 the Section 14(7) of the Corruption Prevention Act (CPA).
-The OCG has also referred a copy of its report to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, and the Permanent Secretary ion the Ministry of Local Government, Denzil Thorpe for considered action, on the failure of the HPC to employ the applicable sanctions commensurate to the breaches perpetrated by the principals of the ‘Just One Plaza’ and Cousins Cove, Hanover.
Hayles had fought for several years to prevent the OCG report from going public. However, In December last year, the Supreme Court dismissed his application for leave to apply for judicial review regarding the release of the 2017 report by the then OCG.
That ruling paved the way for the release of the report on Tuesday.
Hayles is currently a PNP vice president.