Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said he is focused “on the work of the Bahamian people” yesterday as observers await word on how Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and his Cabinet will respond to allegations of fraud that have been brought against him.
He told reporters before a Cabinet meeting yesterday morning: “I think you guys have known me for at least eight years now, most of you, and I’m focused on what I do.
“I’m very disciplined about what I do. The matters that are circulating out there are unfortunate, they will be dealt with in the due course of time, but again, I’m focused on working for the Bahamian people while I have the opportunity to do so and I will do the best to ensure we get through this crisis.”
Asked about calls from the Progressive Liberal Party for his resignation from Cabinet, he said: “We’ll see what happens but as far as I’m concerned I’m focused on the work of the Bahamian people.”
Dr Minnis on Monday told reporters Cabinet is deliberating on the matter.
A statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court last week claims Mr Turnquest and his Sky Bahamas business partner Captain Randy Butler, “dishonestly caused” Alpha Aviation and Advanced Aviation to “pay away” $20.68m and $5.917m respectively to the airline via “some kind of bogus loans”.
However, Mr Turnquest is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit and no particulars were giving describing how the scheme worked, but the plaintiff alleges Mr Turnquest and Captain Butler used “some 39 fraudulent invoices and/or book entries, and for no adequate consideration” drained away some $3.8m paid by Alpha Aviation to Aviation Oversight Group via 39 separate cheque payments between February 2008 and July 2016.
A further $3.026m was also alleged to have been siphoned off “as at December 31, 2017, to AOG Maintenance Ltd, a company that owned Sky Bahamas’ maintenance hangar at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
“In breach of their duties of honesty and fidelity as directors and/or managers of both the plaintiffs (Alpha Aviation and Advanced Aviation) and of the second and third defendants (Sky Bahamas and Aviation Oversight Group), and their duties to act in the best interests of the companies, Turnquest and Butler failed to keep or to ensure that the companies kept any, or any adequate, financial books of account or financial records recording and/or documenting the companies’ financial transactions, failed to maintain or keep any proper or any proper management accounts or bank or cheque or wire transfer reconciliations and failed to put in place any or any adequate financial controls or systems,” the statement of claim by the plaintiff’s company alleged.
Mr Turnquest and Captain Butler have strongly denied the allegations.