Bahamas AG won’t comment on power company bribe before end of June

AllysonMaynard-Gibson-1Nassau, Bahamas — It remains unclear when Bahamians will receive answers over the report that a Bahamian official accepted $325,000 in bribes to swing Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) contracts to a French company over a decade ago.

Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said she won’t say anything on the matter until the end of next month.

She told The Guardian that the investigation is still ongoing.

“We are taking this matter very seriously. As soon as I have something to report I will do so,” she said when contacted for comment.

“The public has a right to know. There has been movement on the matter.”

Last month, Maynard-Gibson told The Guardian that “answers are imminent”.

The allegations were made on December 22, 2014, when the US Department of Justice reported that Alstom SA agreed to pay $772 million to resolve allegations that it bribed high-ranking foreign government officials for lucrative projects.

Federal prosecutors said Alstom falsified its records and paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes for help in obtaining more than $4 billion in projects in countries including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and The Bahamas.

As part of the plea agreement, the company paid a fine of nearly $780 million and also detailed its corrupt practices.

The agreement said that in connection with the bidding on power projects, Alstom retained “Consultant I” who, as certain Alstom employees knew, was a close personal friend of “Official 8”, a board member of BEC.

The names of Consultant I and Official 8 were omitted from the recorded agreement.

According to court documents, the incident happened between 1999 and 2003.

Maynard-Gibson previously said The Bahamas has requested information from the United States regarding the allegations, including the identity of the alleged bribe taker.

Former BEC chairman J. Barrie Farrington has described the bribe taker as a “traitor” who must be revealed and “made to pay a price for this unforgiveable transgression”.

After the matter became public, Farrington called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to appoint a non-partisan commission to investigate and to make recommendations on how to bring conclusion to “this unwanted stain on the country’s reputation”.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has said the matter should be turned over to the police.

In January, Christie said the bribe claim is a “very serious matter” and assured that the government will deal with it accordingly.

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