Sanctions have been recommended against Rovel Morris, chief executive officer (CEO) of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, for the accounting officer’s role in a corruption scandal that enmeshed then Mayor Michael Belnavis and which involved the alleged misuse of state resources.
The Integrity Commission, Jamaica’s single anti-corruption body, said that Morris should be punished for authorising the installation of a 220-volt charging port at the St Ann Municipal Corporation to fuel the Porsche Cayenne hybrid motor car owned by Belnavis.
Morris carried out a request by Belnavis to install the charging facility for the former mayor’s personal use in contravention of government laws.
The Integrity Commission also highlighted that the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Marsha Henry-Martin, did not grant permission for the facility to be erected.
Director of Investigations at the Integrity Commission, Kevon A. Stephenson, in a special report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, rebuked Belnavis for asking Morris to deploy public resources for his personal use.
He charged that the request by the then mayor was “wholly inappropriate and amounts to an abuse of his office”.
Stephenson recommended that a copy of his report be referred to the attorney general, so that necessary sanctions be brought against Rovel Morris, who is believed to have breached Section 17 of the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act when he gave the green light to Belnavis.
The director of investigations also recommended that the permanent secretary pursue disciplinary proceedings against Morris.
Contacted by The Gleaner on Tuesday for his initial reaction to the adverse ruling, Morris said he had not yet seen a copy of the report.
Pressed for a comment on the claim that he breached the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, Morris said: “I don’t have a response.”
‘Abuse of office’ | Lead Stories Jamaica Gleaner