The prosecution’s principal witness in the corruption trial of former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson on Tuesday maintained that he cooperated with police before he was granted immunity from prosecution.
Businessman Jonathan Ash has alleged that he paid Gibson, 58, $280,000 in bribes from January 2017 to March 2017 in exchange for approving payments for work associated with maintaining dump sites after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Gibson has denied the 15 counts of bribery at his trial before Justice Carolita Bethell.
Defense lawyer Keith Knight, QC, who cross-
examined Ash for the fifth day suggested that Ash’s statements to police were made after he was given immunity.
However, Ash did not waver from his October 2 testimony concerning how the bribery scheme came to the attention of authorities and the timing of the immunity agreement.
Knight asked, “How did you come to get this immunity?”
Ash replied, “My lawyer got it from the AG’s office.”
Knight asked, “You were never in direct contact with the AG’s office?”
Ash replied, “Not at that time.”
Knight asked, “When were you in contact with the AG’s Office?”
Ash said, “When I went to sign the agreement.”
Knight asked, “Was that June 27, 2017?”
Ash replied, “If you say that, that’s what it is.”
Knight asked, “And the next day you went to police and gave a statement?”
Ash said, “I went to police before I got the immunity.”
Knight referred Ash to a newspaper report of current Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ reference to him in parliament regarding the hurricane.
Ash has previously testified that he became fearful after the prime minister disclosed the amount of money he had been paid and went to the authorities.
Knight quoted from another newspaper article where a reporter contacted him for comment concerning Minnis’ comments.
Knight read the following quote from the article, “Bossman, get off my phone talking (deleted). I don’t know Shane Gibson. You crazy.”
Knight then asked Ash if he recalled making the statement.
Ash said he didn’t.
Knight asked, “Do you recall the reporter calling you for comment?”
Ash replied, “I didn’t know who the person was that called.”
Knight continued, “You do remember using those words?”
Ash replied, “I just told you.”
The case continues today.