Categorized | National News

BEC Scandal Under Investigation – Allegations “Unfounded”

Allegations that the Office of the Attorney General is disinterested and not taking sufficient steps to progress the investigation into the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s scandal are “unfounded,” according to Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

In a statement issued last Thursday, the attorney general responded to the allegations that were published in the editorial of a local newspaper.

The editorial was published under the caption, “The Attorney General seems timid in BEC bribery probe” and it asserted that the Office of the Attorney General and the attorney general ex-officio are either disinterested in and/or not taking sufficient steps to progress the investigation into the BEC matter.

According to the attorney general, the matter received the appropriate attention and priority that it merits not only from the Office of the Attorney General, but from other law enforcement officials and authorities who are a part of the investigation.

In addition, “The Office of the Attorney General and relevant law enforcement officials take very seriously the allegation that an official from Alstom paid bribes to a Bahamian official to influence BEC to award contract(s) to Alstom.”

Maynard-Gibson assured that the Office of the Attorney General and the Royal Bahamas Police Force continue to work together, along with the assistance from the U.S. authorities, to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether an offence has been committed in The Bahamas.

The attorney general explained that matters such as the BEC scandal raise complex issues of fact and law, including cross-jurisdictional issues, which require careful investigation to determine whether the evidence gathered locally can sustain a prosecution.

“The fact that United States legal officials have supplied information to The Bahamas on the BEC matter, including naming a person alleged in the United States’ proceedings to have received a bribe, does not automatically mean that the matter is ready for prosecution in this jurisdiction. The United States investigation of Alstom took many years, ultimately leading to charges and a plea arrangement in the United States,” Maynard-Gibson said.

“Every effort continues to be made to ensure that the investigation and any potential prosecution in The Bahamas are not compromised.”

In December 2014, bribery claims surfaced when the United States Department of Justice revealed that the French power company Alstom had agreed to pay a $722 million plea agreement to resolve allegations that it bribed high-ranking foreign government officials.

According to federal prosecutors, Alstom had falsified its records and paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to aid in obtaining more than $4 billion in projects in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and The Bahamas.

A Bahamian official was reportedly paid over $300,000 to ensure that Alstom won a contract to provide a diesel generator for BEC nearly 15 years ago.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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