Davis: No witch hunt at WSC

Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday denied that his administration is conducting a political witch hunt at the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC).

The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) has launched an investigation into the affairs at the corporation.

“All I’m aware of is that the investigation is ongoing and they are deciding what they are going to do,” Davis told reporters in the foyer of the House of Assembly.

“It started off with an internal audit report that was presented to me. I turned it over to the AG (attorney general) and the police investigation is continuing.”

Davis said he will not interfere in the investigation.

His comments were echoed by Minister of Works and Utilities Alfred Sears, who has ministerial responsibility for WSC.

“That is a matter which I will not get involved in any way with the conduct of that investigation,” Sears said.

“I can tell you as a former attorney general that the conduct of police matters is a matter strictly in terms of police. Similarly, I respect the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, should it proceed to that, but I have no comment.

“I was advised with respect to the internal audit, and the Water and Sewerage referred it to the police, and I am advised that there is an investigation. I don’t know any of the details nor the stage or any of the particulars of the investigation, where it is right now.”

Last October, Sears revealed that he had directed his ministry to probe questionable contracts issued by WSC to determine whether the matter needs to be turned over to the RBPF.

On Saturday, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Michael Pintard accused the Davis administration of a politically motivated probe into WSC.

“We do not know all of the facts in this matter, but they are going out of their way to drip feed the public with a fair amount of information suggesting a conclusion that has not been arrived at yet,” Pintard said.

Responding to an allegation by the opposition that the investigation into the corporation was politically motivated, Davis said, “We are different from the FNM. We understand what witch-hunting is about because that’s their modus operandi. That’s not us.”

A recent probe into WSC revealed “apparent conflict of interest, lack of due diligence and poor professional judgment” in the management of the corporation’s affairs, according to Eyewitness News.

According to the news report, investigators raised issue with two projects that required approval from the minister but no approval existed in the records of the board meetings.

Concerns were reportedly raised over alleged irregularities with the initiation, management and payment process of the projects.

The probe also reportedly found that the “evidence persuaded the auditors that there were high-level corrupt transactions that caused significant financial losses to the corporation”.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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