As if Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) could use another round of controversy, the new BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey is fresh out the gate generating more unneeded attention for the utility.
With the old board dissolved amid a firestorm of claims and counter claims, Moxey accepted the appointment knowing that he still hopes his company, CBI Mobile, will be able to do business with BPL.
The Nassau Guardian reported this week that Moxey’s software company made a pitch to BPL last year seeking to persuade the company to use its payment app. When we reached out to Moxey, he stressed that there is no deal in place.
However, he suggested that he has a fiduciary responsibility to his company’s shareholders so he won’t allow the company to be cut out of any opportunities simply because he is chairman of BPL.
He said he would recuse himself from any decision making relative to BPL doing business with CBI.
He was backed up by the new Deputy BPL Chairman Stephen Holowesko, who said, “He shouldn’t have to put aside a company that he’s been working on for the hypothetical possibility that there is some contract with BPL down the road.”
Holowesko is making a leap in his statement though and might have missed the point entirely.
There has been no suggestion that Moxey should abandon his company, but it would certainly appear improper for his company to be doing business with BPL while he is chairman.
Just imagine if Leslie Miller, while he was the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) executive chairman, had told the public that his paint business should be considered for BPL painting contracts and he would recuse himself from any board discussion on the decision.
The Free National Movement (FNM) would have had an absolute field day.
It is just not a good look.
Why the new BPL chairman wishes to start on this sour note is anyone’s guess. Saying he would recuse himself would not erase an appearance of conflict, and BPL does not need that kind of distraction right now.
Moxey told us that he has informed Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister about his pitch to BPL and Bannister told him to just inform the board of this. That is not good enough, however.
BPL is already facing credibility issues in the wake of a public feud involving members of the old BPL board and Bannister. It does not need any more attention over matters that could easily be avoided.
Moxey lobbied hard in his efforts to get BPL’s business.
According to information contained in a company presentation titled “Proposed relationship with Bahamas Power & Light”, the MobileAssist platform can be used to facilitate bill payments for BPL customers.
It states, “Bill payment integration with BPL internal systems has been completed (April 2017). Final testing and training needs to be completed with BPL Business Unit.”
The app provides for “real-time” reconciliation, integration with BPL backed systems, automated email and in-app transaction records and a unique transaction ID for all transaction records. It also offers integrated customer feedback and scientific analysis.
Last November, Moxey was seeking to arrange to meet with BPL’s IT team “in order to expand the services capability that we can provide to BPL”.
“We certainly believe there is a significant opportunity to work with BPL with respect to a number of functions inclusive of bill payment, customer account services, geo-fencing push and graphic notifications, as well as customer service calls tracking and management,” Moxey said in a correspondence to BPL.
“We look forward to working with your IT team with respect to completing the integration and testing with your new billing system, and provide your customers with value-added services within our MobileAssist platform.”
Pushing one’s legitimate business is fine, of course. Moxey is a businessman with a product to sell.
But it is now impossible for him to separate himself as chairman of BPL from the company he leads and its desire to enter a business arrangement with BPL.
Bannister himself should see this as potentially problematic.
It would be impossible for Moxey, the minister or anyone else to convince the public that the process of selecting CBI Mobile – should that happen – was a fair process and that the chairman had no influence over the decision.
There is a saying that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. In this instance, fairness in such a process must not only take place, but the process must be seen to be fair.
Moxey speaks about a fiduciary responsibility to CBI, but he also has a very important responsibility and obligation to the public as the chairman of BPL.
One Facebook user asked a very important question yesterday: Whose interest will he be looking out for? Ours or his?
Moxey needs to withdraw his company from any considerations relative to BPL business or withdraw himself from BPL.
It’s that simple.