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Ingraham: Something Does Not Smell Right

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who spoke up on the Commercial Enterprises Bill.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who spoke up on the Commercial Enterprises Bill.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PAYING $8m to a contractor engaged in hurricane clean-up does not pass the smell test, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said.

“In and of itself, it doesn’t demonstrate criminality but it does not meet the smell test to have that kind of contractual work for solid waste collection over a five or six-month period,” he said.

“There have been many allegations relating to construction contracts, garbage collections, supplies to the government and all matters of things. I suspect police will be following up these because some of them on the face of it are credible. But the state ought not to pursue a witch hunt because they don’t like decisions that were made (by the former administration).”

“That is not a crime in and of itself. Where you exercise power and the state lost money because of your misfeasance, that’s an option that they have and it’s a civil matter,” Mr Ingraham said.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed the litany of payments to the contractor, Johnathan Ash, during his contribution to the budget communication last month. He said he was shocked at the high payouts and the speed at which Mr Ash was able to collect cheques.

It is one of several cases officials in the Minnis administration have highlighted as troubling decisions made by the Christie administration.

The Minnis administration’s apparent determination to go after politicians it believes engaged in misfeasance is a departure from the way previous administrations dealt with their political opponents.

Mr Ingraham was asked to react to this following a Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau meeting Wednesday. He said that he long believed elections rather than a short time in prison settled “scores between populations and politicians.”

He said: “If crimes are committed, criminal activities committed and police have evidence then police ought to proceed with it against whosoever, politicians or non-politicians. But there ought not be a witch hunt against people. If there’s evidence somebody abused their authority in office or evidence of misfeasance then that’s possible but not to do otherwise. I come from the school of thought that generally speaking elections settle scores between the populations and politicians and sometimes a loss is a bigger punishment for them than six months in prison because he spends the rest of his life with this thing that he regards as humiliation.”

Last month, Dr Minnis revealed that Mr Ash submitted claims through the Ministry of Works and the National Recovery Unit (NRU) in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Officials in the government, past and present, have been cagey about the payments to Mr Ash, however.

Officials in the NRU point fingers at senior civil servants in the Ministry of Works, suggesting they had jurisdiction to authorise the payments and should take responsibility for what happened. On the other hand, sources at the ministry have told The Tribune that some of the ministry’s staff were transferred to the NRU in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and they reported not to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works but to Jack Thompson, then permanent secretary of NEMA, hurricane czar Shane Gibson and, occasionally, former Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Until at least mid-December last year, work by Mr Ash was certified by Leyton Rahman, chief engineer at the Ministry of Works and one of the people said to be transferred to the NRU. Mr Rahman certified work for Mr Ash to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and he played a role in choosing Mr Ash to maintain the three dump sites on New Providence that were created following Hurricane Matthew. In addition to his work cleaning up Centreville, Mr Ash was responsible for separating bulk waste from green waste at the dump sites and for transporting the bulk waste to the main dump site.

Mr Rahman denies certifying work for Mr Ash worth millions of dollars and was shocked to learn from Dr Minnis’ speech how much money the contractor received, sources told The Tribune.

Mr Ash was among five contractors the former prime minister selected to clean-up Centreville in the wake of the hurricane.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 7 months ago

It seems Hubiggity has conveniently forgotten about all of the things that did not add up or pass the smell test during the last 10 years of the total of 15 years that he was PM.

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BahamasForBahamians 2 years, 7 months ago

Okay so Papa oversteps Minnis again.

With this speech, Hubert I. pretty much sucks all the life out of the political ambition that the current FNM has to jail former politicians.

Minnis' head must be spinning like a pigeon. None of his decisions have been seen to be accepted by the real leaders of the FNM.

No Jail No Vat Removal No Sale of Bahamar No Inner city tax breaks No 'bread and breakfast'

Lol. His popularity will be short lived.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

No he did not ,He is a lawyer and he knows ,malfeasance and wasteful spending are bad judgement and even corrupt ,but its a hard criminal case to make .unless you have solid evidence of Ash kicking back .HAI says where there is corruption AND a provable case by all means prosecute ..

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BahamasForBahamians 2 years, 7 months ago

FNMs will deny that Papa is overstepping Minnis.

Stevie Wonder can see who's running the show though.

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tell_it_like_it_is 2 years, 7 months ago

Agreed "Bahamas". Why are we hearing from this man more than PM Minnis? Didn't he retire? I think it's time for HAI to ride off into the sunset!

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

I suspect someone invited Mr Ingraham to speak to the club and he accepted. He was asked a question and he answered. I also suspect that he like many Bahamians are seeing troubling signs of the Minnis administration going off the rails, not badly, but slightly off. And he spoke up to voice his opinion before things got too out of hand. I'm of the opinion that if Dr Minnis were wise, he would have engaged Hubert Ingraham behind the scenes. He could still do it. Everything ingrahams said so far would have saved Minnis miles of fools errand embarrassment.

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TalRussell 2 years, 7 months ago

Comrades! Of course Papa Hubert is once again using his position to be upstaging Minnis. Even more evidence the Red Shirts governing party is heading once again to be returned to be hooked up to life support - whilst it is being held together with the colour of red silly times putty. If you've seen the newest photo circulating of Papa Hubert and Brent a smiling from ear to ear - think why they are so gleefully happy......{ Might have something to do with the fact that Minnis will never be included in their pictures }. Guard ya back prime minister - at all times around those within your red cabinet and those outside too. Want complete list names....some of us might just obliged.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

The Reds dragged Papa out of retirement to help them win the election and it worked. I think Minnis would be well advised to engage him behind the scenes. If he is part of an advisory committee he is not making statements to the press. Also the motive should be to LISTEN to sound advice, not just silence him. So far as I can see, If they'd listened to him they'd be on a much smoother road with some semblance of a strategy

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Reality_Check 2 years, 7 months ago

Re-post: It certainly seems Ingraham sees an obvious chink in the armour of Minnis and is seizing the opportunity to capitalize on it. Unlike Minnis, Ingraham is very comfortable speaking before many different types of audiences and before the press. I can just see Brent Symonette, Carl Bethel and Dionisio D'Aguilar being gleeful that Minnis very much prefers to hide himself from the public because of his severe discomfort with any setting requiring spontaneity on his part. Things are gonna get real interesting by end of year if Minnis fails to make good on his promise to hold those guilty of crimes through the abuse of their public office and the public trust accountable and responsible for their dastardly deeds.

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John 2 years, 7 months ago

You bet your last dollar this contract does not pass the taste test (ok smell). Something stinks to the high heavens. Watch this: The total comprehensive income for Bahamas Waste Company is around $2.9 million for a quarter. That averages out to $5.8 million for one half year. So a company like Bahamas Waste will have to work almost 9 months or 3/4 of a year to earn the income that was paid to this one contractor for several weeks of hurricane cleanup. And Perry Christie said it best "Its easy to pi$$ away government funds." And this is a clear example of the peoples' money being pi$$ed away!" Call da police.

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John 2 years, 7 months ago

Think about it Bahamas Waste will have to have its fleet of vehicles on the road for 270 days, plus rent out its portable toilets, plus service it's portable toilets for 270 days just for its income to match the $8 million that was paid to this one contractor for several weeks work.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 7 months ago

it only smells right when he is giving contracts to wells ,Fletcher, the foreign company the road works and the men who he gave the contracts for the fox hill hospital and the police commissioner home. then it smells right. roc with doc will rue the day when he brought him back from his error that he said was over.

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asiseeit 2 years, 7 months ago

What more can you expect from the PLP,. They set out to enrich their supporters and they did just that at the expense of the entire nation. The PLP is a self serving organization that in reality is a lodge. They are more loyal to the organization than they are to the very country that spawned it. This is why HI is dead wrong and people MUST be held to account! I refuse to be raped by ANY political organization ever again. I refuse to be lorded over by criminals!

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MonkeeDoo 2 years, 7 months ago

Is the AG too stupid to follow this 8 million dollars, to see how much of it went back to the people who arranged for him to get it. The police put pictures of people they want to talk to in the paper. Why cant the AG get a Court Order to examine any and all bank accounts where Brother Ash has an interest. ( Don't ask Ian Winder though please ) The Treasury Cheque(s) was/(were) deposited somewhere. What needs to be known now is where did the money go from there. If more that $10,000.00 was withdrawn in cash, then the bank must tell us what it was for and Ash will need to be interviewed with the Red & Black 12V cables connected to his testicles. I think that we need another AG if he can't figure this shit out.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

It all sounds good, but it has to be proven. You can't go to court and say your honour everyone know this man was tiefin. You need the email, the phone recording the meeting minutes of someone saying I'm giving you thus contract overpriced so you can give me half in my personal account. Otherwise a reasonable, it was my money and I paid him for advisory services to help with my trucking business is defence enough. No matter the outrageous fee. Remember the ides of the commission of inquiry.

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MonkeeDoo 2 years, 7 months ago

I think HAI's sell by date is long passed now.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 7 months ago

He certainly smells to high heaven, quite often of rum laden breath!

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Socrates 2 years, 7 months ago

i dont see any problem with Ingraham or Christie having their say.. they r still bahamians and they know more about these things than all the arm-chair analysts including yours truly.. what the hell, if you believe in democracy you have to support citizens' right to free speech, whether you agree with their POV or not....

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 7 months ago

Ingraham has some semblance of respect in the political history of the country ........ Christie has absolutely NO credibility ........ PGC scammed Bahamians for two terms and left us dead broke .......... Ingraham can be tolerated

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Baha10 2 years, 7 months ago

HAI is fundamentally wrong to condone corruption by promoting the idea that Elections absolve criminality and Minnis best not head such advice, as his tenure will truly be short lived, indeed, from rapidly growing accounts, it may already be, unless prosecutions occur within 6 months of taking Office, as he has already boxed himself in a corner, whereby if he does not deliver on the threats and assurances of prosecutions, he will either have little choice but to resign out of self respect of his own free will, or this issue will be used to remove him out of no respect against his will.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

I've heard that view put forward since Friday, I believe it's a fundamental misinterpretation of what he actually said. From my understanding he said don't abuse your power to go down rabbit holes just to embarrass people if there's no rabbit in the hole. The Minnis administration could spend the next year in court on a fools errand, wasted time wasted money, more downgrades. What he actually said was proceed IF you have evidence, otherwise let it go. that's a hard pill to swallow but it's sound advice. If you don't have the evidence, focus on preventing it from happening in the future.

"“If crimes are committed, criminal activities committed and police have evidence then police ought to proceed with it against whosoever, politicians or non-politicians. But there ought not be a witch hunt against people. If there’s evidence somebody abused their authority in office or evidence of misfeasance then that’s possible but not to do otherwise."

He did not say elections absolve criminality, he said for "some" the embarrassment of a loss is more painful than time in prison, so don't think you have to embarrass them with a proceeding you know isn't going anywhere

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SP 2 years, 7 months ago

Exactly which part of GET FLIPPIN LOST is Hubert having challenges comprehending?

Hubert Ingrahm and his "school of thought" was soundly rejected in 2012! He is back to his "one man band" stupidity.

His statements only confirm he still considers Bahamians as total fools, and he has learned nothing about the electorate from his 2012 defeat and the PLP massive landslide loss at the polls.

Hubert is obviously either setting the stage for himself to have a soft landing when his own misfeasance is uncovered, (and there is pleanty) or once again showing Bahamians that he still considers us as absolute, total fools!

Why the hell would Bahamians settle for politicians simply being named and shamed for stealing untold millions or misfeasance when the electorate receives harsh, lengthy prison sentences for minor offenses? What Bahamian is stupid enough to accept this nonsense and where did the "six months in jail" conclusion come from?

Politicians and their supporting cast of corrupt civil servants, lawyers, and accountants must ALL be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law same as ANY other citizen! The electorate demands justice NOT favor. The days of "do not go to jail" are over.

This is the only country in the world where politicians like Hubert Ingraham feels comfortable standing on a podium lobbying to protect politically connected criminals from the law! These pirates destroyed our country, decimated our people and robbed us blind for 4 decades and this idiot of a dinosaur wants the people to just shake their hands and move on?

NO THANKS Hubert Ingraham.

We weren't interested in your stupidity in 2012 and certainly are not the least bit interested in your cunning opinions now!

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 7 months ago

Ingraham is of the Pindling era .............. with slight enlightened modifications to be highlighted by the political historians ........... he was more progressive and practical than his PM peers in dealing with institutional social and economic challenges facing the country in 1992 (more than most citizens)

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 7 months ago

He is not condoning corruption , he is saying go after the cases that there is a good chance of getting a conviction .If a minister gives a bloated contract to a friend but you can not prove there was a kickback ,which is usually done in cash , it is very hard to prove its a crime .

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truetruebahamian 2 years, 7 months ago

Ingraham is wrong - absolutely wrong. Those who raped the treasury and those who benefitted from this unconscionable political abuse must be dealt with in the harshest manner possible. naming and shaming means nothing - it would only result in a derisory laugh. imprisonment and confiscation of properties and wealth regardless of how it may be hidden and/or redistributed are the only things that the people wish to see. This is needed.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

Fundamental misinterpretation of what he said, but Ingraham is wrong in the court of public opinion only. That will not win a case in court, Izmirilian could talk to you about it. People are blinded by their desire to see someone punished, I'd like to see someone punished too. What I don't want is the Minnis administration to use a witch hunt to satisfy the cries of the mob, waste time on weak evidence and laws with one million loopholes to distract us from the fact that they have no plan for the country.

These people just took a ten week break. They got power and the first thing they did was give themselves a vacation. Does noone see that??? They knew when election was, they knew where the country was, if they weren't prepared to cancel the family trip to Disney world they shouldn't have run for office

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 7 months ago

Do you really think the Cabinet took the (normal) summer break to go to Disney World?????? ......... My God, you really have a low level of confidence in this new FNM government ........ Maybe you need to live in an alternate PLPworld with Brave, Shame, Fitzie and Fweddy in charge

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

Cabinet didn't take a break parliament did. And I was being facetious, I have no clue where they went or if they went or what they're doing, because they haven't told us. The optics say "we on vacation". That has been my fundamental problem from about May 15th or so, PLLEASE tell us "generally" what the next three months look like, then over that three months give us some regular updates. That's all I asked for. What I got was a bunch of uncoordinated statements from multiple ministers, the one step forward two step backward shuffle from KP...it doesn't look good. They could be doing an A-1 job behind the scenes, they need to realize this een the campaign, you need to tell the people what's happening. I don't want to be surprised when you get an A grade. I want to say, yeah i knew that was coming because they said XY and Z

As to living with Fweddy....depends on whether I get my own key:) that aside despite the sub par performance so far, the last administration could not be allowed another term, they were just too far gone with the level of hubris.

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