Categorized | National News


Tension  mounted in the Magistrates Court yesterday when the Minister of National Security, Marvin Dames testified on his involvement the matter relating to the bribery trial of former Chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority, Frank Smith.

Appearing before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson Pratt, Mr Dames said the first time he heard of the complaint of Barbara Hanna was from Minister of Health Doctor Duane Sands a few days after the Free National Movement won the general elections and became the governing party of the Bahamas in May 2017.

The Minister said  he had not spoken to Barbara Hanna until about two weeks after the conversation between he and Dr. Sands.

Having not spoken  with Barbara Hanna face to face immediately after receiving information from the  Minister of Health, Mr. Dames said that he waited until he did before handing over information to a police officer. As it is protocol to turn information over to a police officer immediately after three “ingredients” are obtained,  Attorney Knight asked, “if you were given a complainant’s name, an offence, and the name of a perpetrator to investigate, why did you not report this to a police officer immediately?” Dames said that as a public figure, and a minister he had  the right to use his discretion in this case. He turned the matter over to Assistant Commissioner Paul Rolle immediately after they had spoken.

The defense provided records of Dames calling the complainant 13 times from June 6thJune 20th, 2017.  Attorney  Knight questioned   why Mr. Dames was so adamant to reach the complainant if he claimed he did not know her personally. Dames’ rebuttal was that he is one minister that lives up to his word.  He promised he would reach out to her and that he did.

The complainant was called by Mr. Dames three times on June 6th, twice on both June 7th and 8th, five times of June 9th and once on the 20Th, in 2017. Mr. Dames said that he recently found out that the only way these phone records were retrieved was by someone going to BTC and paying down on his personal phone number to obtain information on both he and his wife. He says that this is a national security matter and will be treated as such.

Mr. Dames made a statement on June 4th, 2017 which he signed confirming that is was true and correct, but on June 12th prior to the time of the trial, he amended that statement saying that he did so based on “new facts”. Mr. Dames was accused of giving faulty accounts, and he said that he can amend.

Smith is facing 15 charges  of bribery concerning the solicitation of $65,000 from Hanna who he is said to have  assisted in getting a contract for the cleaning of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

The prosecution did not release a document to the defendant stating the nature of what Marvin Dames would be speaking on, which left Attorney Knight no choice but to call the prosecution, Mr. Edward Jenkins unforthcoming and reserved. According to Magistrate Ferguson- Pratt, as it was a cross examination, some information should be given to defense on what will be said by the witness.

Based on the statements given by both Barbara Hanna and Mr. Dames, the question posed was what exactly was said between the two parties during their first conversation?”  The Minister of National Security said he had not spoken to Barbara Hanna until about two weeks after the conversation between he and Minister of Health.

The case it set to resume  today at 2:30 pm, where Ms. Hanna will be given the chance to take the stand again.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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