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Public Comments ‘Could Harm’ Bec Bribe Probe

Allyson Maynard Gibson

Allyson Maynard Gibson

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-Gibson yesterday remained tight-lipped about a Bahamas Electricity Corporation bribe allegation, expressing concerns that further public comments could harm the future of the government’s expected probe into the matter.

She declined to reveal specifically when Bahamians could expect an update from the government on the claims.

Last week, she told The Tribune that the Attorney General’s Office requested information from the US government regarding the bribery allegations.

She reiterated that the government was taking the matter “very seriously”.

Mrs Maynard-Gibson spoke briefly on the situation at Government House following the swearing in of Hartman Longley as the new chief justice of the Bahamas.

She said: “There will only be comments on this very important matter as and when appropriate. It is inappropriate at this stage of the proceedings to make any comment. It might jeopardise the future of the proceedings.

“I can assure the public that as and when appropriate, comments will be made and I reassure the public that this matter is being taken very seriously.”

When asked if she was at all concerned about the public’s perception that the Christie administration was dragging its feet on investigating the bribe claims, the attorney general insisted that a month was not an “inordinate amount of time” to have dealt with it.

“We want to be thorough about the process. I would ask the public to be patient and also to judge this administration, not just the political administration, but the administration that is operating the Attorney General’s Office at this time on its record.

“I certainly have never hesitated to account for my performance and my officers’ performance to the public and I will not ever hesitate on my responsibility to account.”

In December, Tribune Business revealed that French energy company Alstom (formerly ABB) paid more than $300,000 to a government official to secure the purchase of a slow diesel generator for the electricity company nearly 15 years ago.

The bribery claims were unearthed in a $722m plea agreement between Alstom and the United States Justice Department on the matter.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson, who had ministerial oversight of the electricity corporation at the time of the allegations, last week expressed his “difficulty” with the situation to The Tribune.

He has maintained that he did not know of any controversy surrounding the purchase of the generator, or the events that allegedly took place between 1999 and 2001.

He said last week: “I cannot envision who they’re talking about (that) would have done that. It does not strike me as anybody there that I know would have been engaged with that.”

In December, Alstom pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $772,290,000 fine to resolve charges related to a widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes in countries around the world, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Bahamas.

It was claimed that Alstom falsified records, ultimately paying millions in bribes for help in obtaining more than $4 billion in projects, including the Bahamas.

It was said that a Bahamian official was paid more than $300,000 to help secure a BEC contract for Alstom.

The alleged bribe was made between 1999 and 2001, during the time of the former Ingraham administration.

Comments

GrassRoot 5 years, 6 months ago

the facts are known. its all in the U.S. court documents. What public comments could harm the set of facts? What does harm the procedures is secrecy. Self imposed secrecy.

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Alex_Charles 5 years, 6 months ago

complete bunch of horse sh!t. Looking for a way out? this whole situation will be deep six'd as usual. this will continue until a bullet enters one of their heads. What is done in the dark will come to light

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asiseeit 5 years, 6 months ago

What she should have said, and what we all know already, is that "We are trying to figure out how to sweep this under the carpet." The devil is alive and well in our politicians and their crony's!

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ProfessorTinker 5 years, 6 months ago

This woman is the biggest dummy I have ever heard off. So she wants to put a gag order on the entire country. Get real lady, you should be indicted and all your assets sized for the nolle prosequi case that was handle by Fitzgerald on your behalf whom also should be indicted. Felons are running the Bahamas.

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bahamalove 5 years, 6 months ago

Thank you! She also needs to table that report (like she promised) on her meetings in Europe regarding the webshops. We never heard anything about this again. I'm certain they were skeptical about legalizing the 'Numbers' boys.

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ProfessorTinker 5 years, 6 months ago

Bahamalove she went there to figure out how to outsmart and beat the system to be able to inform the number boys.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 6 months ago

This is just weird, the company has ADMITTED their guilt in a US court in the face of, I'm suspecting,irrefutable evidence. exactly how much investigation do they need to do??? I'll bet dates, times, conversations, and bank accounts were all submitted into evidence..the conviction is basically laid out on a platter.

Anyway if anyone is found guilty of using a political office for extortion, bribery, etc, their names should immediately be erased from all buildings or roads to which they're affixed

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Santopadro 5 years, 6 months ago

In my humble opinion, the AG should be given the benefit of the doubt... Indeed, her office is ultimately responsible for thoroughly investigating these matters with a view to bringing to justice those who may be culpable, whether foreign or Bahamian, of violating our nation's anti-corruption laws and those governing the ethical conduct of business in The Bahamas. Accordingly, the AG's explanation that comments from her office must be measured so as not to jeopardize any possible future legal proceedings surrounding these circumstances before the courts is in keeping with our legal protocols... Under our system of justice, cases are not tried in the court of public opinion, but in a court of law. And, as the nation's chief prosecutor, the AG, being an officer of the court, must adhere to these legal tenants. However, the irony in this matter, according to international sources, is that bribery from foreign investors is the norm when conducting business in our country, regardless of which political party may be in power. Furthermore, there is a public perception that our political parties tend to cover up each other's wrong doings when they are in power. There seems to be an unwritten law that no serious charges of corruption or consequence is to be visited upon any member of the political party that has been voted out of office by the current government. So, if the Perry Administration is serious about destroying this scandalous reputation that our nation has engendered since the UBP Era, there must be greater transparency in governance, along with a strong public pronouncement and a pledge by the Prime Minister to root out corruption at all levels of government and to bring those who may be culpable to justice... NO MATTER WHAT SIDE OF THE POLITICAL DIVIDE THIS INVESTIGATION MAY FALL ON in the coming months. But, in closing, my cynicism of all Bahamian Governments is that this administration may simply be vying for time in hopes that the public outcry surrounding this matter will simply go away. And, unfortunately, the outcome of past events of this proportion have demonstrated that Bahamians, in general, possess a rather short attention span...

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by Santopadro

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