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Minister Accuses Bell Of Plp Link

By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter cnixon@tribunemedia.net DISMISSING claims that the FNM interfered with a housing investigation, Minister of Security Tommy Turnquest claimed that former lead investigator Keith Bell is and always has been a "political operative" for the PLP. Mr Turnquest spoke out against Mr Bell's accusation that the investigation into allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Housing were subject to political interference, claiming the statement was opportunistic. He said: "His comments were most inappropriate this morning. He is a political operative, he was a political operative while he was a part of the police force and I take anything he says with a grain of salt." An investigation was launched in November 2006 as a result of claims made by contractors and inconsistencies in housing documents uncovered by The Tribune. By mid-2007, the investigation had stalled for the lack of evidence. In 2008, police said the case was still active and more charges were to be expected. This week, former Housing Minister Kenneth Russell confirmed the long-awaited probe had been completed, but never made public and at least six more people were expected to face charges as a result of the police investigation into allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, Mr Bell urged the government to give a full account of the police investigation into the allegations made against the Ministry of Housing, and any further findings. "There is obviously political interference and political influence going on with this administration. There is no question about it," Mr Bell said. He added: "I don't know of no case in the history of the Bahamas where it took a whole team of officers five years to investigate - not even Sir Harry Oakes' murder." Earlier this week, Mr Bell confirmed he has offered himself up for candidacy in the next general election. However, he said the PLP has not yet made a decision.

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