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‘Hell To Pay’ If Managers Untouched In Bpl Theft Probe

Paul Maynard

Paul Maynard

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

PRESIDENT of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union Paul Maynard said yesterday “there will be hell to pay,” if his union members remain on suspension during an investigation into missing funds at Bahamas Power and Light, while managers at the power company “go unscathed”.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Maynard said he will not stand by and let his members be railroaded when those at a higher rank, whom he claims are the only ones who have access to the funds in question, remain at work.

He also demanded that BPL hire a forensic accountant from outside the power company because “rats cannot investigate rats”.

The Tribune reported on Tuesday that four BPL employees were suspended and one person was terminated pending an investigation into the alleged theft of nearly $1m at the power company.

According to a source close to the matter, the employees were accused of “orchestrating an elaborate scheme” over the course of one year, that allegedly involved fake companies and forged cheques. The Tribune also understands that at least one bank employee was also allegedly involved in the plot and is being investigated.

According to the source, BPL conducted an internal audit but forensic accountants may be brought in to “ensure” transparency.

“BPL uses external vendors frequently,” the source told The Tribune. “What we understand is that the employees are accused of sending in invoices from fake companies, getting a cheque for the amount and then using someone in the bank to cash the cheques.

“This is an elaborate scheme that has been going on for almost a year, that we know of,” the source said.

Meanwhile, when contacted yesterday, Mr Maynard said he is “very concerned” for his union members.

“It is not fair that you have only the line staff suspended and the managers still working. That cannot happen, there is no way I am allowing this to happen. I am not listening to anything they have to say, everyone needs to be cleared out. If the managers still working my staff should still be working as well.

“I also asked the company to bring in a forensic accountant because you cannot have the rats investigating rats. They need to bring in people from the outside. There will be hell to pay in this country if my membership is railroaded.

“Everyone should go, or everyone should stay. This (alleged) crime is too sophisticated for my membership to do, they do not have access to the stuff to do the crime. Trust me, this will not happen like this.”

Attorney Wayne Munroe, who is representing one of the employees, told The Tribune on Monday that he feels the government is under pressure to live up to promises of accountability and prosecution of those found stealing public funds. He warned that “public pressure can ruin people’s lives that money cannot compensate for.”

“My client is on paid leave and as far as I know she has not been terminated,” Mr Munroe told The Tribune.

“I have been hearing so many different stories. They are saying payments went out to vendors and no work was done, but they are also saying the funds were missing. Well that isn’t missing funds, you know where the money is, that is fraud. We need to be careful, the last time the government changed they charged a woman at Bahamas Electricity Corporation, put her through court and she was acquitted and they had to pay her.

“It is all about optics. You have public pressure and something has to be done. We have to be careful that when there is public pressure, we do not do things to ruin people’s lives that money cannot compensate for.”

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean confirmed that several persons have been questioned in relation to missing funds, but said on Sunday that no one was in police custody and no one has been charged. He said the investigation is still “open and active”.

Last week police arrested several employees of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, including Executive Chairman Dion Smith in connection with an alleged theft by employment investigation.

Those questioned have all been released and no one has been charged in that matter. Mr Munroe also represents Mr Smith, former Nassau Village MP.

Comments

BahamasForBahamians 2 years, 3 months ago

The managers who allowed this stealing to take place are all FNM.

Do your research..the entire executive team, minus the AGM Cambridge and Marisol are all FNM supporters. Some have FNM cards. One can assume that you are just a PLP hater with no understanding of the members of the FNM.

Maynard knows why he sounds the alarm at the managers. The government is preparing to sweep this one under the carpet after realizing the CFO is card carrying FNM.

Lets keep in mind the CFO is paid to ensure activities like the ones in this article are either prevented or detected. Considering she has neither prevented or detected it, she needs to go home! Forthwith!

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 3 months ago

We cannot go back to that culture ........ If you steal government/corporation funds, the law should take its course ......... This must change!!!!!!!

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sealice 2 years, 3 months ago

Wait. . . .I finally agree with a Union leader... "everyone should go" all the unions should go get the hell out of this country, Bahamians have had to endure years of the PLP and their unions taking advantage of them = when are people going to be able to relax in Nassau and not have to watch their backs?

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Economist 2 years, 3 months ago

They should bring in a group of accountants from outside The Bahamas and do a truly independent investigation.

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alfalfa 2 years, 3 months ago

Big statements from one of the alledged biggest "tip takers" in BPL. Nothing gets done unless it goes through Paul. What are you going to do? Close BPL down unless some managers are fired? Are they innocent or guilty? You and Bahamas for Bahamians could form a coalition and make sure that all the FNM executive and management team are locked up because they are, according to him/her FNM's. This is enough reason. He/she has already branded and convicted all of them, Particularly Ms. Green who is hated by this individual with a passion. What a crock of s--t.

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BahamasForBahamians 2 years, 3 months ago

She should be removed as she has neglected her duties.

How are you trying to fancy this up?

she was hired to CONTROL BEC/BPL's finances. Through the theft probe, we can see that she was unable to do so. There is nothing that suggests that she was doing her job. $1million has gone missing over a period in excess of a year and she's apparently unaware and cannot comment one word.

What are your grounds for arguing that she stays? Lets take politics out of it!

A financial controller's job is to do just that, control the finances and she is obviously not doing so or we would not be here right now commenting on a theft probe that has happened over 12 months!

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themessenger 2 years, 3 months ago

Business as usual from a Union bully, my way or the highway or we gah turn yinna current off never mind that you done pay. Alalfa you hit the nail on the head where Maynard is concerned. Anybody remember when he wasn't a unionist and got the crap beat outta him for repairing union sabotage as a member of management? Nothing corrupts like money.

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alfalfa 2 years, 3 months ago

Bahamasfor bahamians I am not arguing whether anyone stays or goes. My view is that if the audit and investigations reveal that individuals were complicit in stealing funds from BPL or any other entity, whether they are FNM, PLP, DNA, or whatever, they should be treated in the same manner and brought before the courts. Unlike you, however, I am not prepared to brand anyone as a thief or being negligent in their duties, solely on the basis of their political affiliation. I have not been given the power to pass judgement, and will wait until all the facts are revealed. As this is the prudent thing to do, I suggest you do the same.

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