By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has insisted there are many FTX-related questions that need answers by the Davis administration.
As The Bahamas based crypto exchange fund’s collapse is news around the world, the Killarney MP said the spotlight has been shone on FTX’s conduct and the people behind the operation.
Dr Minnis said the lingering questions included whether Prime Minister Philip “Davis” and his government did any business with FTX, which committed money from the government.
He also wants the Prime Minister to say whether his law firm conducted business with or on behalf of FTX or any of its associated companies.
Dr Minnis continued: “Did the Prime Minister or any of his Cabinet or his senior advisors invest in or have investments in FTX? Has the Prime Minister been a beneficiary of any business or funds from FTX?
“Did the Prime Minister or any of his Cabinet or his senior advisors benefit in any way from FTX?
“Can the government confirm the date or dates when any responsible supervisory authority made ‘on-site’ visits and inspections of the operations, ledgers of accounts and books of FTX or any associated entity in The Bahamas, with full particularity as to the dates and time taken in such on-site visits and inspections?
“Has the government launched any criminal investigation against Mr Bankman-Fried (former CEO of FTX) or any of his colleagues at FTX?”
Police have already said that they are investigating if any criminal wrongdoing occurred at FTX.
Earlier this week, Mr Davis told reporters that he had no knowledge of the Progressive Liberal Party, which he leads, receiving any money from FTX. He said he did not know whether any Cabinet ministers held any FTX digital wallets or portfolios.
He also said: “I don’t hold any wallet and I’m not aware of any of my Cabinet ministers.”
He also denied that the government had invested in any form with FTX.
Yesterday, however, Dr Minnis also said the question of how many Bahamians are known to have invested money in FTX and how much money did they stand to lose based on FTX’s alleged transfer of billions in clients’ money to Alameda Research, its hedge fund, should be answered.
“What is the government doing to ascertain the number?” Dr Minnis questioned, adding: “The Prime Minister and any other ministers or government advisors, including the Prime Minister’s chief policy advisor, need to fully disclose what financial discussions he had with FTX pertaining to the Bahamian people’s money or assets.”
The former Prime Minister posed the questions to the media after he was prevented yesterday from raising the FTX matter at Parliament during the afternoon sitting and during his contribution to the proposed mental health bill.
However, as he attempted to continue, Leader of Government Business in House Obie Wilchcombe interjected saying: “The member is aware that if a matter is sub judice it is not to be discussed in here. You know full well.
“The former Prime Minister fully understands the rules. Do not violate the rules because if that were so, we could be asking questions about a matter that is sub judice right now and should we do that to your side?”
Still, Dr Minnis continued to argue that many of his constituents were invested in the matter.
“They are stressed out and they are asking me to ask questions on their behalf,” the MP shouted. “I have a right to ask the questions.”
Both MPs continued their shouting, ignoring House Speaker Patricia Deveaux’s attempts to gain order, leading her to suspend the sitting for 15 minutes.
When the proceedings returned, Speaker Deveaux referred to the House rules, drawing members’ attention to a ruling she made in a previous House sitting that as debate continued on the Mental Health Bill 2022, MPs would not deviate from matters related to the proposed legislation.
However, she said to date that ruling was not followed.
This was the case as many MPs spoke about unrelated matters, including Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell who spoke about the Progressive Liberal Party’s intention to purchase $10,000 in government bonds before he spoke on the proposed legislation.
East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson also spoke about the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s work in Grand Bahama and called on the government to hire an international public relations firm to direct the narrative abroad to shield the country’s reputation as the FTX matter continues.
“I would like to pause as we go to page 20 of the rule book, and it says ‘any reference to a matter awaiting or under adjudication in a court will not be permitted unless at the speaker’s discretion. That reference would not interfere in any material way with that court matter’,” Speaker Deveaux said.
“All of us in here are quite aware that the FTX matter is under the proceedings of the court and it is very unparliamentary of us as parliamentarians to obstruct the courts from conducting its business and I will not allow those things to happen not under my watch.”
She said she would allow members to pose questions at the appropriate time on the agenda.
For his part, leader of opposition business in the House Adrian White went on to raise a point that the rules spoke to matters under adjudication.
He said there was no dispute that there were liquidators, but there was no pending order, meaning there was nothing under adjudication.
Opposition leader Michael Pintard chimed in, saying there were a host of things related to the collapse of FTX in The Bahamas that were within bounds of questioning and discussion.
He said the opposition respected the House and the Speaker, but they were not prepared to be silenced.
“That is something we cannot comply with,” he said.
“The difficulty is the member for Marco City is not an authority on the investigation,” Mr Wilchcombe went on to tell the House, “and the member is simply passing a view because he is seeking to have favour that would allow for the member for Killarney to raise some points that they believe will be politically expedient to do so.”
The matter ended with Dr Minnis saying he would respect the Speaker’s rules, adding his concerns would be raised with the press outside of the House.