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Works Minister Apologizes For Audit

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Minister of Public Works, Desmond Bannister  made a public apology to Leader of the Opposition, Philip Davis after his reputation and integrity came under attack after a leaked copy of  Ernst and Young’s  audited report of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) became public.

Mr.Bannister in a communication in the House of Assembly yesterday  said, “I know him [Philip Davis] to be an honourable man, and would not wish to see his reputation besmirched.

In the report,  according to the Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, Mr. Davis, he was accused of a conflict of interest.

As  reported in the Tribune,  “the audit also revealed one company said to be owned by the brother of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip “Brave” Davis received lucrative contracts from BEC even though the business was not the preferred bidder in the tender process”.

The article continued, “The09202017_HouseofAssembly16JPG_t670 company, AL D’s Construction and Roofing, received two contracts for a higher value than the recommended bidder.

“The audit found while two BEC executives wanted to award these contracts to two different companies, Mr.  Leslie Miller (then Chairman
of BEC)  wrote to the officials directing them that BEC’s board had requested the contracts be given to AL D’s Construction & Roofing instead”.

Continuing his apology, Mr. Bannister stated: “The  report makes an allegation in relation to the leader of the opposition. I wish to confirm that the allegation is incorrect.

“It is based on incomplete records at BPL, and I wish to say unequivocally that there is no evidence whatsoever that the leader of the opposition did anything wrong,” Mr. Bannister said.

Mr. Bannister went on to provide the report and a letter that the then Deputy Prime Minister Davis would have received concerning contract to his [Davis’] brother.

“I wish to table Volumes 1 and 2 of the report, together with a letter from Permanent Secretary Higgs which completely exonerates the leader of the opposition,” Mr. Bannister said.

In his response, Mr. Davis said
hat when he became aware of the contract,  he immediately summoned  BEC’s then chairman and the  Permanent Secretary.

“I called them in and I said look, my brother is not to be awarded any contracts in my ministry or any of the agencies of which falls in my portfolio.

“If any of the other Ministers wish to deal with him that’s fine, but he is not to get anything from my ministry or from any of the agencies that fall in my portfolio.

“The Chairman took the position and said, ‘look your brother ought not to be disqualified from bidding on projects, and if he succeeds in  being awarded the contract, because he’s your brother,  in any event this is BPL.” said Mr. Davis.

The PLP leader  said he sensed the reluctance of the Chairman and therefore instructed the Permanent Secretary to write a letter to both the board and BEC to immediately cancel the contract that may have been issued to his brother.

Mr. Davis who had stated that he had already put the matter into the hands of his lawyers,  once  he learned of the allegations in the article, accepted Mr. Bannisters apology.

“This morning’s proceeding is an example and an illustration of the maturity of the relationship and also of how this Parliament ought to be conducting itself.

“I hold him (Bannister)  responsible, not that he had anything to do with what eventually occurred, but it falls in his ministry.

“I thanked him when he raised the matter with me and I pointed him to the response to it, which he kindly followed the lead and was able to determine there was nothing to the allegations.

“I do accept the apology for your office,” Mr. Davis told the Minister.

 

 

 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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