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Miller: I Wouldn't Have Gotten Away With Moxey Admission

Leslie Miller

Leslie Miller

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

AS he railed against newly appointed Bahamas Power and Light Chairman Donovan Moxey, former Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller questioned whether the rules have changed for the Minnis administration, adding BPL is in a "ridiculous" situation.

"They would have killed me," Mr Miller, BPL's former executive chairman told The Tribune yesterday, as he referred to Mr Moxey's admission on Monday that he saw nothing wrong with the power provider's board potentially awarding his software company - CBI Mobile - a contract as long as he recused himself from discussions and a final decision.

He also said he had a fiduciary responsibility to CBI Mobile's stakeholders when he was asked why he would not just remove his company from potential consideration.

In this case, Robert Myers, principal of the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG), said Mr Moxey removing himself from the decision-making process would not do enough to improve the optics surrounding potential conflict of interest. He added the new chairman needed to make a decision on whether he preferred to serve his own interests or that of BPL.

Having such a seat at BPL would give him an unfair advantage over his competitors, Mr Myers insisted.

Yesterday, The Nassau Guardian revealed Mr Moxey lobbied several times in emails just months ago for BPL to contract CBI Mobile to use the bill payment app he created MobileAssist.

During a press conference on Monday, Mr Moxey would not give an undertaking that his company would not vie for future BPL contracts while he sat as chair, and when questioned further he said he could not speak for his entire board or shareholders, and would not do so.

"I find this whole situation with BPL to be so disingenuous and distressing because what I'm not hearing is that they are going to bring down the cost of electricity and lessen the burden on the average Bahamian and the hotel sector and business community," Mr Miller told this newspaper when he was contacted yesterday.

"You have this guy saying I am the chairman of BPL and I still could sell them my app. When I was at BPL I never sold them one gallon of paint from Sunburst (a company he owns) which was the government policy that they patronise locally made products.

"But I know they would have killed me. Could you imagine me getting security services at my home on BEC's (ticket)? Could you image that? Or imagine me going to the barber and charging it to BPL?

"I just find the whole thing so ridiculous. Where is the concern for the Bahamian people? Where is the concern for taking the burden off our backs?"

He was referring to revelations BPL's board approved the installation of a new home security system for ex-chair Darnell Osborne and had also paid for make-up services for Mrs Osborne and others in connection with a BPL-related photo shoot.

Mr Miller continued: "It's like nothing matters and the rules have changed. It's like the Bahamas has become a place run like a company and whatever we want to do we can do the hell with you. (They would have you believe) whatever the previous board did under the PLP was unethical, but with this government everything they do is ethical."

Situations like these have left a bad taste in the mouths of small business owners who would ordinarily seek government contracts, Mr Myers said yesterday.

He said: "You can't act in the best interest of your own company and act in the best interest of the board you chair and have insight into the inner workings of potentially other competitors to your company. That is just bad business because you're going to have conflicts.

"And by the way a competitor of his company may also be vying for the business from BPL. How does that look? Because now you've got the chairman of a board of a competing company that has insight and sway in a matter.

"So even if you recuse yourself it's the optics of it. I just think it's bad practise."

Regarding Mr Moxey's responsibility to his shareholders, Mr Myers said: "But then he needs to make the decision to represent his business or if he's going to move into this world (where he is BPL board chairman) he's got to disconnect.

"I am not saying that he can't do it, because there are cases where people are on boards and their companies are awarded contracts, but special conditions prevail in those instances and they aren't allowed to see any of the information. They are recused from the process, but I am just saying if he wants the cleanest possible solution you should have no conflicts of interest.

"The cleanest thing is there be no ties with no conflicts of interest."

Mr Moxey has maintained that no deal was ever reached with the BPL to use his app, adding there was not one currently in place. His view is that there is nothing wrong with his involvement in both companies as long as he recused himself from any board discussions on the matter.

Deputy BPL chairman Stephen Holowesko shared the same view saying Mr Moxey should not have to put aside his company for a hypothetical contract with the company.

When asked about the prime minister's thoughts on the matter yesterday, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said Dr Hubert Minnis is more concerned with BPL providing consistent and reliable electricity and that the day-to-day events are left to those who work there and the board of directors.

Comments

Socrates 2 months, 2 weeks ago

no great fan of Leslie, but i agree with him on this.

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birdiestrachan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

MR> Fitzgerald and Mrs. Maynard were accused of grave sins and condemned. This crew does far worse and they say they have done no wrong.

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BahamasForBahamians 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The goal post moves when the FNM in power.

They are allowed to rape the economy with blatant conflicts of interest. White is right.

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BONEFISH 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't care for Leslie Miller but what he said is the truth.

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DWW 2 months, 2 weeks ago

If the app contract is so lucrative and so good for BPL and Bahamians. Resign from the board.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The weird thing is ,hanging on to this post for dear life has done tremendous damage to his brand. I saw shades of this from the moment he started talking about it taking 6-8 years to train a Bahamian ICT force. I saw a man who wanted to corner the market for himself, enter CEB Bill . If I were one of the shareholders this would be my concern.

Even if he should step down tomorrow. His name will be linked with someone who sees nothing wrong with awarding himself a contract. And you could parse it sideways and upside down that's what it boils down to. Once you establish a friendly relationship with the board, they have a bias toward you. You could be in Timbuktu under a rock recusing yourself,the game would already be rigged. What's even more shocking is that Holowesko supported him in this. Does he have a contract out too?

This is why our country is dying, our people see nothing wrong with doing absolutely anything to get money....the love of money.

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Jetflt 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Chairman of the Board and Moxey sees nothing wrong with his company doing business with BPL??? I shudder to think this man was appointed as Chair. But then again, nothing surprises me anymore.

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Greentea 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Sadly he appears to be in the same vein as many politicians historically -including Mr. Miller (who at least bothered to distance himself from contracts he may, or may not have benefited from, by one degree). I am glad he pointed it out. But in Bahamian political life it is a perfect example that we are conducting business as usual despite political change. The Pot always calling kettle black and the pig always calling the butter fat. It is a merry go round that gets the country nowhere.

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John 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Is the Minnis administration imploding?

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Porcupine 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Did the Tribune still see it necessary to quote Mr. Miller. Especially on this matter. Now, I haven't read the papers thoroughly lately, but I did see where the make-up company said they did nothing for Osborne. Isn't this correct? And, if I remember correctly, Mr. Miller is embroiled with Bank of Bahamas for loans he never paid back. Is this who the Tribune should be quoting? Or, should they focus on someone who has a bit more moral authority?

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BahamasForBahamians 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Nothing disqualifies Miller, the past executive chairman for BPL, from being quoted for commentary on matters concerning BPL. If you disagree, scroll past articles with Miller's name - simple.

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Greentea 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Who are CBIs primary shareholders?

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Greentea 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Miller has a point but he always goes off track: "He was referring to revelations BPL's board approved the installation of a new home security system for ex-chair Darnell Osborne and had also paid for make-up services for Mrs Osborne and others in connection with a BPL-related photo shoot." Why should they pay for services concerned with promoting the company- makeup or otherwise- and frankly she would have needed extra security for the mess she needed to sort out.

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT THERE FELLA. . .THE MAKE UP COMPANY SAID THAT THEY DID NO WORK FOR THE WOMAN NOR HER STAFF!! SO WHO DID?

DON'T FOLLOW THESE LOW LIVES POLITICAL EMPTY BAGS ON THIS SITE. . .FOLLOW THE LINE OF PURE REASONING AND LEAVE THESE ROCK KICKERS BY THEMSELVES. . .

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sealice 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Miller your would have and did get away with sending yourself business because of your gov't position on many more then one occasion.

Why can't we get people to just run the business and not have to try and kick themselves back....every damn time it's not about you it's about serving the public interest.

Send in the foreigners please we can't run tings ourselves....

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bogart 2 months, 2 weeks ago

.....soooooooooo whats da big deal.......google batelco jullian francis..............

Article is there from 12 jan 2011 on bahamapress.com....chairman of batelco , people has to hav a right to make a livin ya know.

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

THAT'S HOW DUMB THINKING LIKE THE PLP ENGAGE IN. . .IT EEN SAYING MUCH ABOUT THE MEDIA RAG THAT HAVE A REPORTED GOING TO JESSE JAMES TO GIVE RIGHTEOUS ACCUSATORY COMMENT ON PERSONS WHO WE SUSPECT TO BE ROBBERS AS WELL!

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. . . .say Bahama press. . .chile don't make we laugh ya hear. . .mudder-take-sick!!

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