Freddie Solomon Ramsey at an earlier court appearance.
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREDDIE Solomon Ramsey on Friday escaped being hit with a custodial sentence and instead was fined $1,000 for each of the 14 bribery-related charges of which a jury previously convicted him stemming from the Alstom SA/Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) scandal.
Justice Bernard Turner imposed a $14,000 fine on the 79-year-old insurance executive as opposed to a prison sentence in connection with evidence alleging that French company Alstom SA paid more than $300,000 to a BEC board member to influence the awarding of the New Providence Phase Two and Three contracts between 1999 and 2003.
Justice Turner said Ramsey has two months to pay off the fine or face six months in prison.
In addition, Justice Turner said he saw no reason why he should not order the entire $221,457.81 Ramsey allegedly received from Alstom as a result of the scandal be repaid, which the judge said should be paid to BEC or any successor of BEC within nine months.
Failure to pay off the $221,457.81 within that time, Justice Turner said, would result in that sum being applied to Ramsey's real property tax and/or him facing a separate term of six months' imprisonment.
Justice Turner also said that sum should be paid to the country's Consolidated Fund should BEC (now Bahamas Power and Light) no longer be considered a public body.
Ramsey was previously acquitted of two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery concerning the Phase Two contract. However, he was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and 12 counts of bribery concerning the Phase Three contract.
The 18 charges against Ramsey - four of conspiracy to commit bribery and 14 or bribery - concerned the New Providence Expansion Phase Two and Three contracts.
It is alleged that Ramsey, being concerned with others, did conspire to "solicit, or accept any advantages ad 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 BEC between 1999 and 2003.
It was further alleged that Ramsey, on seven occasions during the same period, solicited and received a total of $321,107.81 in bribes from Alstom SA, formerly ABB Generacion.
During Friday's proceedings, Justice Turner took into consideration the mitigating factors surrounding the case, such as Ramsey's clean criminal history, his civic and social engagement, his occupational reputation - all of which the judge said Ramsey has lost as a result of his actions - Ramsey's family life and his "perilous" health.
However, Justice Turner said Ramsey's actions brought "shame" to the Bahamas, as well as to the other BEC board members and other officials engaged with the corporation.
Justice Turner also said Ramsey abused the trust placed in him by BEC and brought reputational harm to the Bahamas with his actions. The judge also said Ramsey's actions only further perpetuated an "ongoing narrative in the public domain of public corruption".
Justice Turner said a non-custodial sentence was appropriate to convey the "societal intolerance" to Ramsey's actions over a decade ago.
Ramsey is a former emeritus Free National Movement Council member and former parliamentary candidate for Fox Hill. He is also a former insurance executive.