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Fnm Fires Back Over Slush Fund Claims

photo

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis

By CELESTE NIXON

Tribune Staff Reporter

cnixon@tribunemedia.net

THE FNM hit back at State Minister of National Security Keith Bell's allegation that confiscated drug money was used as a "slush fund" under the former government - claiming the minister's comments reveal he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Describing the claims as unbecoming of a minister, opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis said Mr Bell's assertions about the Confiscated Assets Fund are completely baseless.

He said: "Mr Bell appears to be completely unfamiliar with the operations of the Confiscated Asset Fund and unfamiliar with the fact that the fund is routinely audited by the Auditor General and reported to the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and subsequently tabled in the House of Assembly by the Minister of Finance."

Speaking on Monday, Mr Bell claimed $9 million was taken from the fund between 2007 and 2012, but details of how the money was spent were never tabled in the House of Assembly.

Dr Minnis said: "If he had bothered to familiarise himself with the operations of the fund, he would be aware that the Auditor General's report on the fund, tabled in the House of Assembly in June, 2002, reflected a closing balance of some $3.7 million.

"He would also know that the Auditor General's report on the Confiscated Assets Fund for the period ended June 30, 2007 was tabled in the House of Assembly by the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham on July 2, 2008, reflecting a closing balance of just over $9.5 million.

"And, Mr Bell, had he bothered to check, would be aware that the last audit report of the Confiscated Assets Fund was tabled in the House of Assembly in October 2011, reflecting a balance of just under $1 million and also recording expenditures of funds from the Confiscated Assets Fund authorised for the acquisition of surveillance equipment (electronic monitoring), ammunition and bullet-proof vests; aviation training; the purchase of aircraft, motor vehicles and motorcycles, mobile police command centres, radar equipment and vessels - all to strengthen the capacity and ability of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to better wage war against the criminal class, both local and international, who seek to ignore our laws and destroy the peace."

Dr Minnis said all the funds were spent with Cabinet approval and in full compliance with the requirements of the Confiscated Funds Act.

"Mr Bell would have been better advised to explain why with $9.5 million in the Confiscated Asset Fund up to May 2007, his party's government had failed to provide either the police or Defence Force with urgently required anti-crime fighting equipment including vehicles and vessels to improve patrols and strengthen anti-crime initiatives around the country," he said.

In fact, Dr Minnis noted, the PLP failed to purchase a single vessel for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force between 2002 and 2007 - notwithstanding the obvious condition of the aging fleet.

He said: "Mr Bell suffers from a common PLP disease - that of looking in the mirror and rather than seeing themselves, seeing the FNM."

The FNM leader also rejected Mr Bell's claim that FNMs were "handing out envelopes of money on election day" and pointed out that the minister "might seek to explain why, particularly given his past career on the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the fact that as an attorney called to the Bahamas Bar he is an officer of the courts, he did not see it fit and necessary to report a crime which he alleges to have seen or which was reported to him.

"Further, given his present position, he might advise if he proposes to have the police investigate the crime and cause charges to be laid."

He said the FNM does not engage in actions that threaten to degrade and destroy Bahamian democracy.

"We uphold the law, support democracy and never countenance any action which would damage our democracy. Our record on this speaks loudly for us. The same cannot be said for the current PLP-led government."

Comments

TalRussell 7 years, 12 months ago

While Comrade leader Minnis himself appears to be completely familiar with the operations of the Confiscated Asset Fund is he prepared to inform the native's as to whether or not any of the cash or assets were ever used by Comrade Tommy to set-up and fund his own Internal Security Force within his security ministry, independent and separate from the Royal Bahamas Police force?

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by TalRussell

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mynameis 7 years, 12 months ago

If it's tabled in the HOA, then it ought to be public record? No?

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242352 7 years, 12 months ago

That looks like a photo of the PLP MPs money fund in his closet. Well, stolen (in true PLP fasion) by his driver (who was in his closet).

TAL - where would you get this photo?

MP Peet said he had it to pay collage fees for his kid in the states.

Well, we all know that US Schools do not accept cash! Period ! No cash accepted!

And all US MONEY MUST CLEAR CENTRAL BACK APPROVAL.

SPLAIN ME THAT ONE TAL

(and keep the RED SHIRT stuff out of it, because this is all yellow stuff)!

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Ironvelvet 7 years, 12 months ago

Go Dr. Minnis!! Tell them to do their homework!!

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 12 months ago

go Doc ,stay on them and don,t let up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!we had Papa and we miss him ,but now we got Doc ,,Doc rocks

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PKMShack 7 years, 12 months ago

I wonder if Keith Bell have an answer of facts for the Dr. Minnis or will he have a TAL RUSSEL answer. Well said, a reply listed with facts raather than with hot air. Go Dr Minnis represent yourself and the Country.

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Concerned 7 years, 12 months ago

My God Mr. Bell looks like a big "Non-Smart" person. Why Bell, why? Why you gone let politics blind you and allowed yourself to become a political mule? Now, rather than starting off your political career with a big bang, you started with a big bummer. First impressions are lasting and history will now record you in the same category as Picewell Forbes, Shane Gibson and Leslie Miller - people whose loose mouths caused them national shame and disgrace.

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Oracle 7 years, 12 months ago

Facts is what we will demand....no longer will inuendos and unsubtantiated accusations be the modus operandi Hon. Bell....no longer will vague legal jargon and generalization be accepted as fact....we the Bahamian people BELIEVE we deserve TRUTH..,,,,,put him under the stethoscope DR.

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 12 months ago

Doc i like the way your starting out ,,,,facts my bother facts ,,,,in this short time i have come to like and respect Dr Minnis more and more..

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