Categorized | Featured, National News

NIB Audit Cost Nearly $1 Million


For months he has been tight-lipped, but National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson finally revealed yesterday that the National Insurance Board (NIB) forensic audit cost the government a whopping $861,606.

The government hired the Grant Thornton (Bahamas) accounting firm to carry out the audit after now axed NIB Chairman Gregory Moss and NIB’s Board wrote Minister Gibson a 22-page letter last year alleging that now suspended NIB Director Algernon Cargill was engaged in misconduct.

Minister Gibson tabled the reports – which total 3,081 pages – in the House of Assembly yesterday more than a week after The Bahama Journal leaked it.

The first report, which dealt with allegations against Mr. Cargill, consisted of 233 pages and approximately 2,363 pages of appendices for a total of 2,596 pages.

The second report, which dealt with allegations against Mr. Moss, consisted of 72 pages and 413 pages of appendices for a total of 485 pages.

The Bahama Journal has learnt that Grant Thornton (Bahamas) assigned seven chartered accountants, two staff accountants, three assistant accountants and two executive assistants to the two NIB forensic engagements.

It took three-and-a-half months to complete the report.

According to information obtained by The Journal, of the $861,606, $69,500 was paid to attorneys Evans & Co., Grant Thornton (US), Bahamian realtors William Wong and Patrick Strachan, engineering firm, Ace Consultants and a computer consultant.

The audit found that Mr. Cargill was involved in misconduct, mismanagement and conflict of interests.

On Tuesday, Mr. Cargill presented a 49-page rebuttal to that audit.

In his rebuttal, which was presented to NIB Chairman Father James Moultrie, Mr. Cargill attacked Minister Gibson saying that he gave NIB contracts to favoured Progressive Liberal Party supporters, particularly an agency that supplied the PLP during the 2012 General Elections.

Outside of the House, Mr. Gibson fired back saying that Mr. Cargill is trying to deflect attention from the scathing NIB forensic audit.

“At the end of the day, the record is clear that whenever I am in office I try to help as many people as I can. That’s his version of what happened and I guess he will have to stick with it. At the end of the day I am the minister responsible for National Insurance. I have certain responsibilities and lines of authority and whenever it is necessary for me to exercise those, then I will exercise them,” Minister Gibson told reporters.

“What he did say is that I am helping PLPs. PLPs put me in office. I don’t single out PLPs. But if a PLP happens to apply for a contract, why shouldn’t they be considered? Is he then saying that he excluded PLPs?”

Mr. Cargill also said in his letter that he is a PLP supporter.

But as far as Minister Gibson is concerned, Mr. Cargill’s admission proves that the investigation is not politically motivated.

“If you are exposing information that is truth regardless of political affiliation, then I think that you should be applauded for that. When was in Opposition I highlighted a number of things that were going on at NIB. Once I got there we heard about more things that were going on and so once I appointed the Board I highlighted certain information and they were able to investigate them and they were able to come up with some pretty conclusive positions and I think the Bahamian people should feel proud that we are working in their best interest,” he said.

Mr. Cargill is accused of giving almost $1 million contract to Kenuth’s Electric Plumbing and Hardware Store.

The minister said that Mr. Cargill has “nerve.”

“There were no signed contracts for electrical works at the now Attorney General’s Office. Just a matter of telling persons that they can do works at that office and the Ministry of Works without going out to tender. Under section 7 of the Act, it says ‘the minister shall appoint whenever he considers it to be in the best interest of the public.’ So when he talks about me breaching tender exercise…what tender exercise [is he referring to] when he gave out all those electrical contracts? It couldn’t be the ones he looked at because he was the only director and he was able to give out all those electrical contracts.”

Minister Gibson said forensic audits are not strange for NIB and this one was worth every penny.

“I’m kind of glad we asked for the forensic report because we not only found out what was done but we found out how the system was manipulated to do it and so we are reviewing those processes to see how we can put safeguards in the system, to make sure that moving forward, the way the system was able to be manipulated between 2008 and 2012 …we minimised the chances of that happening that way again,” Minister Gibson said.

The minister said the Attorney General’s Office now has the task of analysing the forensic report to determine if criminal charges will be brought against Mr. Cargill.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook