Categorized | National News

Gibson: Cargill Grasping At Straws

National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson said suspended National Insurance Board (NIB) Director Algernon Cargill and his attorneys are “grasping at straws” by filing a judicial review in the Supreme Court to have the findings of a forensic audit tossed.

Mr. Cargill has been on administrative leave since last year.

In 2012, then NIB Chairman Gregory Moss and NIB’s Board wrote Minister Gibson a 22-page letter alleging that Mr. Cargill was abusing his power and involved in some misconduct.

“They are grasping at straws. It appears to me that he wants to receive his salary as long as possible if he thinks it is in jeopardy,” Minister Gibson told reporters outside of Cabinet on Tuesday.

“It [Cargill’s job] may not be in jeopardy. When he is completed with his explanation he may be back on his job [Wednesday].

On Monday, Mr. Cargill asked the Supreme Court to set aside the audit’s findings.

He wants the court to quash Minister Gibson’s decision to appoint the Grant Thornton (Bahamas) accounting firm, which conducted the audit.

The application said Mr. Gibson’s decision to appoint the firm “amounts to a usurpation of the power of the Board of NIB.”

But, Mr. Gibson said Section 7 of the National Insurance Act is “very clear” in detailing the minister’s powers and he said “Mr. Cargill and his lawyers know better.”

Asked why Mr. Cargill has not yet been terminated considering the audit found that bonuses were improperly paid to Mr. Cargill and other executives, Mr. Gibson said “natural justice” has to take place.

Mr. Cargill and his attorneys were expected to meet with NIB’s Board yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Gibson said the board would make its recommendations following that meeting.

“I will take their recommendation into consideration and make a decision,” he said noting that the Board could not terminate or hire employees above executive management level without ministerial approval.”

Cargill Was “Unreasonable”

Mr. Cargill, in his court application said the forensic review was unfair, arbitrary and in breach of the rules of natural justice.”

Mr. Gibson responded to the suspended director’s assertion.

“All of us know the story. The auditors invited Mr. Cargill to come and meet with them. Mr. Cargill set some unreasonable conditions that he wanted them to agree to before he would agree to meet, so it’s not that they didn’t want to meet or they didn’t give him an opportunity, he decided, as he is doing now, that before they meet with him, they’d have to send him all the questions in writing,” he said.

“I don’t believe that he’d be that bold to lie to the court like that; he wouldn’t do that because we have copies of correspondence where the auditors wrote Mr. Cargill inviting him to meet and we will be disclosing those as well so the public can see exactly what transpired.”

Mr. Cargill, in his court documents, also noted that the forensic audit cost over $600,000.

Minister Gibson said that “might be so.”

“I wouldn’t say yes or no because I really don’t know what it is but I should actually have that final figure sometime today. Whenever the report is laid in parliament we will disclose that figure as well,” he said.

Mr. Gibson said a report on Greg Moss will be tabled in parliament “soon.”

He said it would be done before the House of Assembly takes its summer recess.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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