By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN investigation into “improper behaviour” has been launched at the Ministry of Health, according to Health Minister Dr Duane Sands who said the alleged malfeasance is “sickening”.
In an interview with The Tribune, Dr Sands said the appropriate authorities are investigating the matter and he will advise the public, as soon as practicable, on the findings.
Dr Sands did not reveal any additional information on the misconduct because he said he did not want to “prejudice the investigation”.
“A new day has dawned for the operations and the business of health,” Dr Sands said in the House of Assembly on Wednesday evening.
“We have already gotten evidence of improper behaviour in the Ministry of Health. It has been referred to the appropriate authority and at the appropriate time I will advise the public of the findings of those investigations. I invite the public if you know of any malfeasance in the Ministry of Health please let me or any of my senior officials know,” Dr Sands said.
When contacted yesterday about his earlier comments, Dr Sands said despite the government conducting investigations into several ministries with no results thus far, he has the political will to see this “to the end.”
“It’s some really sickening stuff, but I think that we have been down this road before where the public, having suspected that there was a level of malfeasance and corruption, has been disappointed that no one has ever been brought before the courts, or precious few people, and so the public has become numb,” he told The Tribune.
“I think what is different this time is there is truly the political will to find the evidence and adhere to the rule of law, but at the same time eradicate that culture that says you can take liberties with the people’s money and get away with it.”
Authorities are still investigating allegations of theft at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).
Several employees from BAIC were taken into custody nearly a month ago, including former Nassau Village MP Dion Smith, who was serving as executive chairman of the agency at the time. However, they were all released with no charges.
A source close to the matter told The Tribune that police suspected the employees of allegedly attempting to destroy files and remove evidence from BAIC that could possibly show funds were being misappropriated. However, nothing came of the allegations.
Earlier this week, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said despite not making any arrests at BPL to date, “there is no doubt someone will be charged.”
Last month, four BPL employees were suspended and one person was terminated pending the outcome of the theft investigation.
Employees were accused of “orchestrating an elaborate scheme” over the course of one year, that allegedly involved fake companies and forged cheques. Allegedly at least one bank employee was also involved in the alleged plot and is being investigated, a source told The Tribune.