Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019
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Mitchell: Police probe of NSA audit will be politically tainted

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday that he doesn’t believe the police can impartially investigate an audit report the prime minister forwarded to the commissioner.

An audit of the National Sports Authority (NSA), which was tabled in the House of Assembly last week, that covered from July 2011 to December 2017, found that a company was paid over $1.1 million for work that was never performed.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Monday that he forwarded the auditor general’s report to the commissioner of police “so that they can do a proper investigation and deal with the matter appropriately”.

Mitchell said the move was politically motivated and suggested the police force is being politically manipulated.

“We want to make it abundantly clear that the PLP has no confidence that the Royal Bahamas Police Force under the direction of Marvin Dames as minister of national security can conduct an impartial, non-partisan and independent investigation,” Mitchell said.

“Any investigation in these circumstances will be tainted by political bias and therefore will not be worth the paper it’s written on.”

In an interview with The Nassau Guardian yesterday, Mitchell said he doubts the audit’s findings.

“I put my head on a chopping block,” he said. “It cannot be done.”

The audit found other shortcomings involving payments to numerous companies and employees, as well as the use of petty cash.

The auditor general noted that contracts issued by the NSA “lacked formalized process and transparency”.

Mitchell blamed the audit report on a difference in philosophy between the PLP and the Free National Movement (FNM).

He also accused the FNM of trying to taint the work of former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson.

“It appears that every time the PLP is in office, there are these selective audits of what happened by the auditor general,” Mitchell said.

“We have enough evidence to show from previous audits that what was asserted in the audits proved to be incorrect, for example, to say that you couldn’t find records or paper work, and so on and so forth, when you actually delved in it, the records were right there.”

He added, “There is a philosophical difference between the Progressive Liberal Party and the FNM, as it relates to sports support.

“We believe in brand Bahamas.

“Brand Bahamas means, and this is part of the whole CARICOM initiative, that the future for income producing benefits for young people in this country is tied up in further investment in culture and sports.”

He added, “The FNM comes along. They cancel the IAAF Relays, for example.

“Foolish decision, stupid decision, doesn’t make any sense, because it does not help in the long-term development of our young people, and that’s just one example.

“So that’s the issue here, and what they’re trying to do here is sully the work that the minister did and the NSA did under his leadership.”

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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