Freddie Solomon Ramsey at an earlier court appearance.
By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN was granted $40,000 bail on Friday after he was arraigned in connection with bribery allegations amounting to more than $500,000 concerning generator purchases for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).
Freddie Solomon Ramsey, 78, stood before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt on four counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and 14 counts of bribery allegedly committed between 1999 and 2003.
The allegations are related to a widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes to countries around the world. They were brought to light months ago in a US Department of Justice report that French power company Alstom SA paid more than $300,000 to a BEC board member to influence contracts to a French company between 1999 and 2003.
In Friday morning's arraignment, the chief magistrate asked the accused where he wished to be tried. Ramsey replied: "Magistrates Court."
According to the Prevention of Bribery Act under which he was charged, a conviction in Supreme Court on those charges carries a fine up to $10,000 and/or four years imprisonment.
A conviction in the lower court warrants half the penalty on a fine and/or incarceration at the Department of Correctional Services.
Ramsey is a former emeritus Free National Movement Council member and former parliamentary candidate for Fox Hill. He is also a former insurance executive.
It is alleged that Ramsey, being concerned with others, conspired to "solicit, or accept any advantages as an inducement to or reward for or used influence in procuring", for ABB Generacion and Alstom SA in the New Providence Expansion Phase Two contract with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.
Concerning ABB Generacion, it is alleged that on two occasions between 1999 and 2003, he received $199,300 in bribes.
It is further alleged that Ramsey, on a dozen occasions during the same period, received $370.395 and 90 cents in bribes from Alstom SA.
Ramsey pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Police prosecutor ASP Clifford Daxon offered no objection to bail for the accused.
The chief magistrate noted that because of the serious nature of the offences and the alleged amounts involved, she would set bail at $40,000 with two suretors and the conditions that he report to the Elizabeth Estates police station on the 15th of each month "on/or before 6pm".
She then transferred the case to Magistrates Court no 10 before Magistrate Guilimina Archer.
Ramsey was ordered to return to that court on October 13 at 10am to receive his trial date. He has retained Roger Minnis to defend him.