$14M SPENT ‘WITHOUT DUE DILIGENCE’ AT DRA: Laroda claim adds to allegations about Minnis administration

Myles Laroda, the state minister with responsibility for the DRA.

Myles Laroda, the state minister with responsibility for the DRA.


Tribune Senior Reporter


THE Disaster Reconstruction Authority spent $14m “without due diligence” under the Minnis administration for debris management, a government official said.



Myles Laroda, the state minister with responsibility for the DRA, made the revelation as he highlighted various irregularities and concerns about how the authority was managed, saying a former director of the institution acknowledged this failure.

Mr Laroda also raised an issue about the proposed Abaco Hurricane Centre, first announced by the Minnis administration, saying hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the project to date but the foundation has not yet been poured.

 He also said National Insurance Board contributions had not been paid on behalf of DRA employees, an issue the authority is now correcting.

 He told Parliament that the DRA’s debris management arm spent $9.5m for two sites in Abaco and $3.5m in just four months for sites in Grand Bahama.

 He reiterated that a forensic audit is underway into the DRA and said he did not want to preempt that investigation.

 He told the House of Assembly: “During the management of these sites there was a gap, and I’m quoting one of the former directors, that there was a gap where the government paid $14m without due diligence. There was a gap where the government paid $14m without due diligence.”

 He also said: “(In) Elbow Cay we had a situation with debris removal of which there was no contract. There was a notice to proceed. I’m advised that the scope of works that were not laid out were somehow underestimated and that takes us to the Abaco Hurricane Centre of which again, I’m gonna be very guarded, but I will say this, that there was a joint venture between a Bahamian and a foreign entity for the plans and also the construction of that facility along with some government homes of which $400,000 was dispersed.

 “Two hundred and fifteen thousand was dispersed to an entity that attempts had to be made to try (to) recover those funds. A further $185,000 was paid for the plans of this at the time $1.8m structure. To date, $900,000 has been spent on that project and when I last visited the site in Abaco I could tell you that the foundation has not been poured yet.

 “Nine hundred thousand on a project that was scheduled from $1.8m that has ballooned to $2.7m and all we have is a structure with a foundation not poured but still coming out the ground and a few blocks. I’m not a construction man, but I do know that that don’t sound right, and when we have a situation with the $215k that was spent and I’m advised to the foreign partner who would have justified when we tried to recover those funds –– and this recovery started under the FNM, so this ain’ just the PLP trying to recover these funds –– we were advised that the funds paid related to pre-procurement costs of which there were three days of per diem at $22k per day.”

 Regarding the Small Homes Repair programme in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, he said more than 3,700 homeowners sought assistance. He said 1,200 people in Grand Bahama got assistance at a price tag of $1.5m and $585,000 went to Abaco residents.

 In terms of home rebuilding, he said the Minnis administration had five houses under construction in Central Pines of which $600,000 had already been spent.

 “By comparison, Sweetings Cay had the Rotary build a total of 17 homes for $1.5m. I let the Bahamian people judge that. With regards to the domes, we had 38 erected in Abaco of the proposed 213. Approximately $4.9m was spent and less than 20 percent of those domes erected even though 75 percent of the funds was given out.”

 He said another $800,000 was paid to a secondary contractor to erect domes after the initial contractor left the project.

 Speaking of the DRA’s unpaid contributions to NIB, Mr Laroda said: “What is also concerning, that at December 2021 the DRA owed the National Insurance Board the sum of $168,793.89. There were no payments made to NIB on behalf of the staff of DRA from its inception. I want to ensure the public and those employees former and present that we are presently addressing those matters.”

 Last month the DRA said UHY Bain & Associates will forensically audit the authority after an operational review found many signs of mismanagement.


John 1 year, 8 months ago

Nothing but diversion. And Distraction.Bahamians wants to know about their future and what plans Brave Davis have in store for them. Although all proper procedures may not have been followed, the funds are accounted for. BRAVE DAVIS needs to tell the BAHAMIAN PEOPLE , why he intends to legalize SAME SEX MARRIAGE, MARITAL RAPE and SEX WORKERS after the people rejected it.


pro_test 1 year, 8 months ago

Accounted for? less that 20% of the domes install and 75% of the money spent. You must think everyone stupid or you have some of that money.


moncurcool 1 year, 8 months ago

You are correct. Typical distraction.

All it is is another brain dead political with no ideas trying to stir up a base with allegations and innuendos. If something was illegal and against the laws, send it to the courts. But not they just fo to the House and make allegations and give no vision for where the country should go.

It is much ado about nothing.


geostorm 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes moncurcool, typical distraction! When will these politcians learn that the average Bahamian is sick and tired of these ole tired political games. This is nauseating.


bahamianson 1 year, 8 months ago

Ok, so who goes to jail , or is it just bad accounting while he/she is texting on the cell phone.


Sickened 1 year, 8 months ago

So this former director of DRA that is quoted was a director at the time? I assume so since he knows this stuff. As a director he has to be held accountable for dispersing $14million without due diligence - it happened under his watch.


tribanon 1 year, 8 months ago

The DRA needs to be totally shutdown so that Davis and Laroda do not have the opportunity to quadruple the losses from all the waste, fraud and outright theft associated with that useless agency. And no doubt the waste, fraud and outright theft has not abated and is still going on to this very day.

If Davis were the least bit concerned about the dire state of our public finances, he would embark on a serious cost cutting programme to shutdown not only the very useless and costly DRA but also the many other corrupt and grossly mismanaged government agencies just like it that are bleeding our small nation to death with their exorbitant payroll costs in addition to all the waste, fraud and outright theft going on within these useless agencies.

When is Davis going to stop looking in the rear view mirror, as if he's still campaigning, and start looking ahead and doing what he was elected to do, i.e., govern? Is he completely devoid of governing skills? Is he bereft of any plan for addressing the many issues that have the misery index for most Bahamians at an all time high?


tribanon 1 year, 8 months ago

Last month the DRA said UHY Bain & Associates will forensically audit the authority after an operational review found many signs of mismanagement.

UHY Bain & Associates may as well be considered another useless government agency as it is notoriously politically biased towards doing the PLP government's bidding in exchange for handsome fees. LOL


TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Any friend of such a trusted Fish Monger or Banker is a trusted friend of your Comrade Tal!
I've never been around, seen nor has I heard anyone of reputed status say of Comrade Myles Laroda, other than every due diligence says...whether he were Banker or Fishmonger (but not of kinds bearing free fishes, and, not just the once on Good Friday but on two other (unrecallable dates) Fishes bearing occasions), you'd being sighted or with diminished vision would want seek out to purchase your Stewing Fishes or Banknotes from one wit long such sterling character, ― Yes?


rosiepi 1 year, 8 months ago

He said he “didn’t want to preempt the investigation”, when old pols like Laroda pontificate spewing misinformation they expect to be taken as gospel they’re showing naught but contempt for all citizens of the Bahamas.


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