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Loretta - I Knew Deal Looked Fishy – ‘I Feel Vindicated For Asking Where Money Was Going’

Loretta Butler-Turner

Loretta Butler-Turner

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A former Opposition leader yesterday said the probe into bribery allegations involving the Defence Force’s new $150m fleet had “absolutely vindicated” concerns she first raised five years ago.

Loretta Butler-Turner told Tribune Business that “Bahamians should be very concerned as to where this goes” since it “can leave quite a blemish on the country’s reputation” should the claims ultimately be proven true. The former Cabinet minister and MP spoke out after The Tribune confirmed that Bahamian law enforcement authorities have been co-operating with Dutch investigators probing whether the Netherlands-based manufacturer of nine Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) ships paid bribes to secure the deal and similar contracts with other Caribbean countries.

She yesterday said the late Bernard Nottage, then-minister of national security, and other members of the former Christie administration had been “very dismissive” when she voiced fears that the deal with Damen Shipyard Group (DSG) was over-priced - especially since it was paying more for fewer vessels than the last Ingraham government had sought to order.

Mrs Butler-Turner, in particular, argued at the time that $8m was “unaccounted for in terms of costs” although Mr Nottage subsequently said this had been set aside to cover any unanticipated change in the project’s scope of works

Now, urging the government to be “very co-operative” with the Dutch investigation, Mrs Butler-Turner said it needed to apply greater scrutiny when dealing with large multi-million dollar contracts with international vendors to ensure nothing untoward happens.

With the Defence Force fleet claims following swiftly behind the $300,000 Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) bribe case, she called on the current and future governments to properly protect taxpayers by ensuring “value for money” with all contracts.

“I really had a lot of questions regarding that,” she recalled of the Defence Force fleet deal. “If I’m not mistaken they paid $8m more, and I questioned why that was given that the number of boats was less but they [the Christie administration] were paying a higher amount.

“They were very dismissive and very vague was to why the numbers changed. It raised a lot of concerns for me, and here we are today understanding that some probe is going on into that.”

Mrs Butler recalled that the last Ingraham administration planned to spend $132m on acquiring 11 new Defence Force vessels, but its successor - which ultimately signed the contract with Damen -purchased just nine for a higher $149m sum.

Dutch investigators first raided Damen, the Netherlands’ largest shipyard, in 2017 in relation to the probe. It is understood to centre on $13m in commissions that the Government allegedly paid to a Barbados-based company, NSG Management & Technical Services Ltd, which acted as Damen’s local agent in negotiations with the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries.

Comments

Porcupine 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I had the same questions myself. Checks and balances, due diligence, freedom of information, lots of things here that won't see the light of day, until......... The secrets will go to the grave, as so many have before. In the meantime, the taxpayers, the people will be continually saddled with these outrageous bills for goods and services never received. Corruption at its finest. So embedded in the culture that nobody ever goes to jail or has to pay back what they stole. Saves time and money in the judicial system. That way we can spend our law enforcement money and time locking up kids smoking ganja. All makes sense now. Perfect sense.

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Godson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

For us who are sincere about our Love for Country, THIS REALLY HURTS!

Sincerely, "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his one soul?".

**PEOPLE OF THE BAHAMAS, WE MUST ROOT OUT ALL THAT ARE ASSOCIATED AND CONDONE CORRUPTION.

THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL PARTY(PLP) SHOULD BE DISBANDED. IT IS A POLITICAL VEHICLE FOR GREED AND CORRUPTION.**

There is no such thing as a "New PLP". This would only define a renewed opportunity for greed and corruption.

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Chucky 3 weeks, 4 days ago

If you root out all the corruption, how will the two remaining Bahamians look after and run this country.

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Ashinnabash 3 weeks, 4 days ago

OUT OF THOSE TWO ONE MIGHT BE FNM AND THE OTHER PLP THEN WHAT?

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I say put the cat in charge, he can't do no worse. After every crisis he can say meow...and translating cat we all know that means I wasn't prepared, again, but I learned alot.

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Godson 3 weeks, 3 days ago

I am just so shame of us as a people (professional adults) who seem not to possess or have the discipline and ability to carry out a straight business transaction on behalf of the Bahamian People without f_cken tiefing. And then we complain when members of the 'white race' looks down on us. SHIT!

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SP 3 weeks, 3 days ago

They will look after the country by seeking out some of the 1000's of like-minded, honest and patriotic Bahamians who would love play integral roles in rooting out corruption!

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SP 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Of course, Loretta Butler-Turner had no problem with the BEC fiasco, Vincent-Vanderpool Wallace absconding with millions of the peoples' money, the $300,000.00 toilets at Saunders Beach, the $100M cost over-run with the roads rehabilitation project, selling BTC at 10c. on the dollar, and gifting a very costly and profitable submarine communications cable to Haiti!

These politicians can only see the splinter in the opposition but cannot see the many rafters in their own eyes.

Both PLP and FNM are corrupt to the core and must be removed!

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banker 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Never heard about Vincent. How did he do it?

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The_Oracle 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I wish I were a fly on the wall every time a politician or Lackey/bag man asked or suggested inflating the price or cost to include the inevitable kick backs. With all the Anti foreign corrupt laws internationally, the FACTA, and the TIEA's signed i hope more and more sticky political fingers get caught in the fly trap.

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enough 3 weeks, 4 days ago

SP I agree. We need to stop voting party and vote person. This party politics is killing our country and these sycophants can see no wrong with their own party. Both the PLP and FNM have doomed us and it continues. Brickell Management Group is building the dooms, BPL deal,

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BahamaPundit 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The FNM budgeted over a million dollars I believe to pass the Freedom of Information Act, yet no FOIA has been passed or even prepared for. So, they are corrupt even in becoming transparent! What did we do as a country to deserve this leadership?

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geostorm 3 weeks, 3 days ago

We continue to sit idly by and allow corruption to occur. We complain on social media, but when it comes to real change, we are not serious. We do not demand accountability nor do we care as long as we are getting our share or as long as it does not directly affect us.

The entire country loses when we have this type of attitude. We need a change in our mindset. Corruption and dishonesty have destroyed many strong nations, just look at Zimbabwe or better yet, some of our Caribbean neighbors.

So @BahamaPundit, this in my humble opinion is why we got the leadership that we have had! We did it to ourselves!

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 4 days ago

When will the Government freeze the assets of Perry Christie and his 2012-17 Cabinet??? That required a Commission of Inquiry from DAY ONE in May 2017. They were the most corrupt administration in the history of this country ....... $3 billion of debt and borrowings and nothing tangible to show for it in 5 years............ Thieves.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Corruption everywhere....and it's no different under the Minnis-led FNM government. Small wonder the Canadian banks are scrambling to sell off their operations in the Bahamas and elsewhere in the Caribbean to anyone they possibly can - in CIBC's case a Colombian based financial group owned by a Jewish billionaire.

As for the very apparent graft involving the purchase of the grossly over-priced defense force ships, hopefully the Dutch and international law enforcement authorities will be carefully scrutinizing large transactions that may have flowed through the bank accounts of the Bahamian cabinet ministers and others who were directly involved in the negotiations, and all entities in any way connected to either of them, whether in the Bahamas or abroad, and whether the individuals concerned are now dead or still alive. The great thing about fraud is that no statute of limitation applies and in a digitized world there's virtually no place one can hide their illicit activities.

But let's not forget for a moment that the so called 'legalization' by the PLP government of the corrupt activities of the web shops and other enterprises controlled and operated by the racketeering numbers' bosses, like Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers, was the final straw that broke the camel's back. And to think this was done notwithstanding the outcome of the duly held national referendum whereby a majority of the voting Bahamians voted "No" to the proposed legalization of the very illegal web shops. The head offices of the Canadian banks in Toronto said "enough is enough" when they realized the new Minnis-led FNM government had also cozied up to Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers rather than repeal in its entirety all of the legislation that was passed by the PLP government in very wrongful attempt to somehow legitimatize the criminal activities of these racketeering thugs.

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 4 days ago

All correct. Sad, but correct.

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DWW 3 weeks, 3 days ago

bullcrap. the banks aint got no beef with numbers. silly poppycock such a stretch makes your otherwise plausible statement nullified. good job

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bahamianson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

is there still a list for BEC? have we eradicated the list? Are we all equal now?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Surely you jest !

Of course the Minnis-led FNM government and the FNM Party have ensured "DO-NOT-DISCONNECT" lists have been made available to the appropriate senior officials with both BPL and Water & Sewerage Corp.

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"she called on the current and future governments to properly protect taxpayers by ensuring “value for money” with all contracts"

This is what people mean when they ask the question where the VAT money gone: Was the work necessary ? Were other options explored? Was the best vendor selected? Was the money well spent? Were the items purchased worth what was paid for them? Were the items listed as purchased, actually used on the project?

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Why is it that I see this as not having a damn thing do former corruption.
It's not so an unusually comrade sister Loretta way, eases in her audition, ready herself, be's at the front line be Minnis's replacement, yes, no .... You don't make miraculous possibility like this up. you just, can't.

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Godson 3 weeks, 3 days ago

LBT did not initiate or report this investigation.

NOTE YESTERDAYS HEADLINES: Probe into Defence Force vessels deal: Bahamas $150m contract caught in Dutch inquiry

THE Netherlands is investigating alleged bribery involving the Christie administration’s acquisition of nine defence force vessels in 2014 and has been receiving co-operation from local officials for its investigation since June of last year.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Comrade Godson, it's prepping campaign message for party nominate sister Loretta to contest the soon be vacated House seat for St. Anne's constituency, yes, no ...

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John 3 weeks, 3 days ago

As Election time draws nearer all the skeletons will be creeping out the closet and trying to breathe a new political life. How much did she get paid to stab Minnis in he back again’ ‘Et tu Brute’?’

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Godson 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Man LBT did not initiate or report this investigation.

YOU SHOULD NOTE YESTERDAYS HEADLINES: Probe into Defence Force vessels deal: Bahamas $150m contract caught in Dutch inquiry

THE Netherlands is investigating alleged bribery involving the Christie administration’s acquisition of nine defence force vessels in 2014 and has been receiving co-operation from local officials for its investigation since June of last year.

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BONEFISH 3 weeks, 3 days ago

The country needs to have a FOIA. Also the country needs real investigative journalism.I find it strange the next major paper here locally has not carried this story.

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Giordano 3 weeks, 3 days ago

This is what I call : "Constitutional Corruption" because no head of of state is approachable (like the Prime Minister & The Queen of England may be included to clear up her name) in terms of liability not even with the word " Trial" in order to confirm or verify the "Wrongdoings" with billions of dollars on detriment of present and future generations of taxpayer. Constitutional because the government,entire justice system and also all those kaki-pants'people who swear the national pledge and rather than being on the right side of history,they are "Betrayors to the Nation" in total complicity with the corrupt politicians.

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John 3 weeks, 3 days ago

So did the government demand the $10 Million that was overpaid be returned with interest?

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 1 day ago

We are still waiting for LBT to account for her $100,000 per year constituency fund and $30,000 per year constituency HQ .......... for FIVE years ........ All $650,000 of it. Pray tell.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Godson ........ please defend LBT on that.

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