Categorized | National News

NIB Directors Want Cargill Fired

The board of directors of the National Insurance Board (NIB) is seeking to terminate NIB Director Algernon Cargill adding that they are only awaiting Cabinet’s approval to give him his walking papers for allegedly “abusing” millions of dollars of public funds , the Bahama Journal has learnt.

In a letter to Minister responsible for NIB Shane Gibson, NIB Chairman Gregory Moss –writing on behalf the directors- accused Mr. Cargill of conflict of interest and abuse of millions of dollars of NIB funds.

The letter lists eight examples of this.

The first is in relation to apartments being rented by NIB.

The Board is accusing Mr. Cargill of being in conflict because he rented an apartment from his brother Godwin Cargill.

According to Mr. Moss, the apartment was being rented for a representative of AIS – the Jamaican IT company being used to assemble the technology for the National Prescription Drug Plan (NPDP).

The Board’s investigations revealed that Mr. Cargill’s brother owned an apartment in Sandyport and another apartment was being sought for $4,500.

But Mr. Cargill rented the apartment for a deposit of $18,333.40 although the actual amount needed for a deposit was only $5,000.

The board says Raymond Wells, another NIB employee, assisted Mr. Cargill in this transaction.

They were both called before the board to answer questions in relation to this matter.

“In the clear overwhelming majority consensus of the board, both Director Cargill and Mr. Wells were dishonest in making statements to the board to the effect that Director Cargill either did not give his approval for the rental of the Sandyport Apartment or did not do so until after the rental agreement had been executed by Mr. Wells,” the letter stated.

“Further, it is the clear overwhelmingly majority consensus of the board that Director Cargill and Mr. Wells agreed to misrepresent the facts to the board regarding the knowledge and involvement of Director Cargill with a view to exculpating Director Cargill from any responsibility for his approval for the rental of the Sandyport apartment notwithstanding his clear conflict of interest in having done so. To the contrary, it is clear that Mr. Wells was aware of the conflict of interest, requested Director Cargill’s approval to rent the Sandyport apartment from his brother notwithstanding that conflict of interest and received approval from Director Cargill to proceed with the rental notwithstanding the conflict.”

The letter continued, “As a result of those facts and findings by the Board, the following resolutions were passed on October 16: To summarily terminate the services of Director Cargill and Mr. Wells for gross misconduct; to authorise me as chairman to invite both Mr. Cargill and Mr. Wells to resign from their employment with immediate effect as an alternative to having their employment summarily terminated in which case I was authorised to pay them up one year’s salary each; to appoint current Senior Deputy Director Mrs. Cecile Bethel to the office of Acting Director of NIB.”

The Board also accused Mr. Cargill of spending $240,000 on NIB’s credit card in a period of three years.

“Internal Audit is now preparing a report to the Contracts and Tenders Committee and to the Audit Committee regarding the use of that card by Mr. Cargill,” Mr. Moss said.

Other issues include Bahamas First Insurance, Kenuth Electrical, a Vitech Contract, the suspension of Sean Moss, the Fresh Creek Clinic Construction and the 700 Islands Procurement.

With the Kenuth Electric issue, the board found that the company’s owner Kenuth Knowles is a close friend and former colleague of Director Cargill.

According to the Board, in the period of December 9, 2008 to August 29, 2012, NIB paid Kenuth Electrical over $2 million.

“That sum is a substantial sum and constitutes an average payment by NIB to Kenuth’s Electrical of $46, 524.89 per month for 45 months. The fact alone raises serious concerns,” Mr. Moss said.

Some examples of work included a checking and changing of light bulbs for NIB’s parking lot for $22,225; electrical inspection that costs $10,305.34; checking of yard lights – $8,800; installation of time clock for $2,385.12 and the removal of flags from poles – $8,005.50.

Kenuth Electric was also made the subcontractor for numerous NIB contractors, according to the board.

The subcontractors, which were awarded to Kenuth’s Electric by contractors for NIB projects totaled jobs in the amount of over $8.3 million.

In terms of the Vitech issue, Mr. Cargill reportedly hired the company for $14 million without any attempt to include AIS – the company previously being used for the Prescription Drug Plan.

CEO of AIS Douglas Halshall was invited by the board to give an estimate of his services.

“Mr. Hanshall provided his best estimate that his company, would in conjunction with Mastek, be able to provide the required software for $6.5 million and advised that his personnel would come to The Bahamas to complete a formal review in order to provide NIB with its best and final offer offer for the completion of the work,” Mr. Moss wrote.

“The engagement of AIS in conjunction with its affiliate Mastek, has the potential to save NIB approximately $5 million.

In the Bahamas First issue, Mr. Moss stated that NIB property was insured with Bahamas First through the agency of NUA Insurance which was affiliated with past NIB Chairman Patrick Ward, who is also president of Bahamas First.

“In that regard, reference is made to the meeting of the Board of Directors of NIB, which was held on July 25 at which, inter alia, a discussion was held in respect of the captioned policy. The germane point of that discussion was that the Board expressed grave concern as to the apparent conflict of interest involved in awarding that contract of insurance and as to the terms of that policy,” the chairman wrote.

“Upon further discussion, the board inquired as to whether the policy could be extended for a further month during which time the matter could be re-opened to further tenders not including Bahamas First and were advised by Director Cargill and Mrs. Phaedra Mackey-Knowles that the entire premium had already been paid to Bahamas First and the cancellation of the policy was not a practical option as the short-rate, which would be payable upon cancellation during the term of the policy would be substantially equivalent to the annual premium sum and that the policy was for a fixed term of three years which could not be terminated.”

Mr. Moss indicated in the letter that he had spoken with Minister Gibson on the issue, who advised that a second tender excluding Bahamas First should be issued.

However, Mr. Moss said that this was not done. Further, Mr. Moss said the suggestion that it could not be cancelled at any time was untrue.

The board said Mr. Cargill also gave a contract to build the Fresh Creek Clinic in Andros to his cousin Hugh Edgecombe – the owner of HEW Construction Company.

When it comes to the 700 Islands Procurement Issue, Mr. Moss said the matter is under active review and “no firm conclusions have been reached by the board or by any committee of the board at this time.”

But it is alleged that Mr. Cargill and Mr. Wells have used NIB inventory to give or sell phones and laptops to friends or associates. It is also alleged that one of Director Cargill’s brothers works at one of the offices of 700 Islands.

“Internal Audit has prepared a report for review by the Contracts and Tenders Committee and that the committee has started to review the report,” Mr. Moss states. “The committee has requested that Internal Audit use the report to track the location and use of every cell phone, laptop and television purchased by NIB from this supplier and confirm the location of the items not assigned for use. The Committee is awaiting a report from Internal Audit.”

The chairman said the board has concluded its review with respect to the Sandyport matter and has resolved to terminate Mr. Cargill and Mr. Wells.

“I await your response in respect of the implementation of the Board’s resolution in respect of Director Cargill, pending which I shall hold in abeyance to any further meetings of the board as I do not see how the board can be expected to hold a meeting, which of necessity, would involve Director Cargill when the board has resolved to terminate the services of Director Cargill,” Mr. Moss said.

The letter was also copied to Prime Minister Perry Christie and Senior Deputy Director Cecile Bethel.

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