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Public Managers Union (PMU) President Winston Moss yesterday expressed surprise over the amount of bonuses National Insurance Board (NIB) executives have been pocketing, and suggested this was unfair given that his union has only been able to negotiate bonuses of $1,000 for middle managers.
The forensic investigation into allegations against suspended National Insurance Board (NIB) Director Algernon Cargill and fired Chairman Gregory Moss has cost the government $861,606, Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson confirmed yesterday.
Grant Thornton (Bahamas) was engaged by the government on November 30 and handed in its reports on March 24.
The Nassau Guardian understands that $69,500 will go to Evans & Co., Grant Thornton (US), Bahamian realtors William Wong and Patrick Strachan, engineering firm Ace Consultants and a computer consultant.
Gibson told reporters that while it was regrettable that taxpayers have to foot a nearly $1 million bill for the investigation, the probe was needed to shed light on accusations of corruption within NIB.
"Hiring auditors is expensive," he said shortly after tabling the reports in the House of Assembly.
"In this particular case I think both reports totaled over 600 pages, plus we had a whole box with appendices.
"So they put in a lot of man hours. It's unfortunate that we have to spend people's money on something like this, but we just wanted to make sure that what was being said would accurately reflect what was going on at the board."
Gibson said the government will use the reports to put mechanisms in place to prevent abuse and manipulation at NIB.
"I'm sort of happy that we did ask for the forensic report because we not only got to find out what was done, but we found out how the system was manipulated to do it," he said.
"So we are reviewing those processes to see how we can put safeguards in the system to make sure that moving forward the way that the system was able to be manipulated between 2008 and 2012, that we minimized the chances of that happening that way again."
Cargill and his legal team met with NIB's board Tuesday night to discuss the forensic investigation, his defense and his future with NIB.
Gibson said he did not know if Cargill would be fired or returned to his post because he had not yet received a recommendation from the board.
Gibson added that he does not know if any criminal charges will be filed as a result of the investigation.
He said the Office of the Attorney General will make a recommendation after reading Cargill's response to the forensic report and minutes from the meeting on Tuesday.
Gibson also said that there were "no adverse findings" in the report which probed accusations against Moss.
"In every case where Greg used the [corporate] card to charge anything that wasn't or should not have been charged to National Insurance he actually refunded the money," he said.
"He acted within the authority given to him by the board unlike in the case of the other report where persons at the National Insurance Board prior to 2007 did not act on proper authority.
"In the case of Greg Moss, his line of authority was clear, he received it from the board and he never acted outside of the line of his authority."
Gibson also defended his actions since assuming office and said any accusations made against him by Cargill were an attempt to deflect from the findings of Grant Thornton.
Cargill provided NIB with a 49-page response to the forensic report on Tuesday. In that document, he said Grant Thornton did a "shallow" investigation that was slanted and riddled with meritless opinions.
That document contains a number of serious accusations against Gibson and his oversight of NIB.
The government ordered the audit after Moss wrote a lengthy letter to Gibson last November, advising that the board had voted to fire Cargill and outlining a series of damning allegations against him.
Cargill fired back by taking legal action against Moss and NIB. In his affidavit, he made a series of allegations against Moss.
Grant Thornton examined the allegations made by both Cargill and Moss and produced two separate reports of its findings.
Auditors are putting the finishing touches on the report into the accounts of the National Insurance Board (NIB) and will present it to the government by Monday, according to Paul Andy Gomez, managing partner at Grant Thornton Bahamas
"The report will be factual and supported by evidence," Gomez told The Nassau Guardian. "There is not much room for subjectivity.
"The Bahamian people will see exactly what happened and there isn't going to be any ambiguity because the facts are going to be laid."
Gomez said the firm has found that many people who worked on NIB's board between 2007 and 2012 performed their jobs with integrity.
"There has been some discussions about [board] directors and the role that the directors played," Gomez said.
"I just want to say that based on the information we have seen and how business was conducted during 2007 to 2012, we have found the vast majority of members of the board of directions of NIB to be of the highest level of integrity and who would have taken their job seriously in the face of a nominal fee, meaning not paid much, and gave fully of their time to advance the objective of the National Insurance Board."
Grant Thornton was contracted by the government to audit NIB's accounts after a 22-page letter written by then Chairman Gregory Moss, with serious accusations against NIB Director Algernon Cargill, was leaked.
Cargill was later suspended pending the outcome of the audit. He filed suit against NIB and Moss.
The auditor will also give the government recommendations to protect the National Insurance Fund from projected insolvency in 2029, The Nassau Guardian was told.
NIB Actuary Derek Osbourne has made the projection and also delivered a full set of recommendations on how to protect the fund.
"[It is predicted that] 2029 is when the fund is going to be in trouble and that is not too far away," Gomez said.
"Our recommendations are going to be in line with what needs to be done to protect the assets of the fund."
Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson would not comment yesterday on the actuary's reported concerns. He said while a draft actuarial study was presented to the government, he would await a final report before he speaks to it.
Last year, Prime Minister Perry Christie said he wanted to commission a second actuarial study by another actuary to assure the government of the fund's substantiality.
Thomas Evans, QC, is giving Grant Thornton Bahamas legal advice as it compiles the audit. The auditor's team also has realtors, electrical engineers, foreign forensic specialists, a retired senior police officer and a certified internal auditor.
Accountants looking into the affairs at the National Insurance Board (NIB) have found that bonuses appear to have been improperly paid to Director Algernon Cargill and other executives, and have also highlighted reported irregularities in the award of certain NIB contracts for various projects.
The report also said that auditors found that Cargill is listed as an officer of the company owned by his brother that rented an apartment to NIB.
As it relates specifically to the issue of bonuses, Grant Thornton, the firm that conducted the review, found no evidence to show that ministerial approval was secured for bonuses received by Cargill.
A legal opinion from Thomas Evans, QC, which was sought by the chartered accountants, determined that the NIB Act requires that overbased increases in salary and bonuses for the director and other members of the executive management require the approval of the minis
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was the minister responsible for NIB at the time the bonuses in question were paid out.
"The salary and bonus payments made to Mr. Cargill, director of NIB in excess of his contract, if made without the approval of the minister first being obtained is ultra vires the corporation and therefore void," said the forensic report.
The report also found that if bonuses and salaries paid to executive management personnel were made without the knowledge of the Board of Directors or the members of the Human Resources sub-committee and without the approval of the minister, they are void.
These are among the key findings contained in the long-awaited NIB report that is expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly soon.
Eight NIB executives and one person on contract collectively received bonuses of $723,333 between January 2010 and May 2012, with Cargill taking home $194,791.66 in bonuses during that period, according to information on NIB's files.
The Nassau Guardian will this week lay out some of the findings of the nearly 300-page document that provides substantial details on the probe.
The report is so detailed that it would be impossible to reveal all the findings in one article.
A separate report lays out the findings of allegations made by Cargill against Gregory Moss, who was fired as chairman in January.
In a 22-page letter written to Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson last November, Moss accused Cargill of being in a conflict of interest as it relates to NIB's rental of an apartment at Sandyport.
It was just one of the reasons Moss listed for the NIB Board recommending Cargill's termination.
Cargill was suspended pending the outcome of the forensic review and has been on suspension for more than five months now.
"The auditors found that based on a review of the Registrar General's files, that Cargill is listed as an officer of the Jes-El Car Company Limited (vice president and director)," said the Grant Thornton report.
"This company is owned and operated by Godwin Cargill (Algernon Cargill's brother) and is the company that rented the apartment at Sandyport to NIB."
The report continued, "The latest annual return filed by Jes-El Car Company Limited at the Registrar General's Department is dated June 2004.
"In response to this in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Mr. Cargill also did not disclose the fact that he was an officer of the Jes-El Car Company Limited.
"NIB's audited financial statements for the three years ended December 31, 2010 through December 31, 2012 did not have the related party disclosure notes as required by International Accounting Standard 24, particularly considering that NIB's annual audited financial statements are tabled in Parliament."
Minutes of the board of directors meeting held on October 28, 2010 "indicate that NIB commenced an action against Mr. Godwin A. Cargill in respect of delinquent NIB contributions", the report also said.
In his affidavit filed last November in support of court action against Moss and NIB, Cargill said NIB executive Raymond Wells "on behalf of NIB, and without my knowledge or any prior discussion, executed the lease agreement on February 25, 2012 with an effective commencement date of March 1, 2012.
"When the lease agreement was presented to me...for my authorization of payment of the first month and last month's rent and security deposit, pursuant to the lease agreement, I immediately recognized that the lease agreement was with a related party, my brother, Mr. Godwin Cargill, the beneficial owner of Jes-El Car Ltd.
"I immediately contacted the chairman (Patrick Ward), in the presence of Mr. Raymond Wells and we explained on speakerphone the circumstances to the chairman."
Cargill said that after he was fully appraised, Ward ratified the decision to rent the Sandyport apartment, on the basis that, the decision to rent the apartment, in spite of it being a related party transaction, was a good business decision for NIB.
In his November letter to Minister Gibson, Moss also raised the issue of the award of contracts to Kenuth's Electrical.
He concluded in that letter that, "The only NIB related explanation as to why Kenuth's Electrical was so favored by NIB would appear to be the friendship between Director Cargill and Kenuth Knowles."
The NIB report completed by Grant Thornton said that Kenuth's Electrical was NIB's preferred sole contractor that was engaged for most of the electrical repairs and maintenance for all NIB buildings in Nassau during the years 2008 to 2012.
"There was a lack of tendering on a number of projects/contracts including the project performed by Kenuth's Electric at the Ministry of Tourism where it would have been prudent to control costs and enhance accountability by sending the project to tender," the report said.
It also said, "There is confirmation from NIB that labor rates were not agreed, which should have been considered especially since Kenuth was viewed as the preferred electrical contractor. It does not appear that labor rates on invoices were checked consistently and queried by NIB's project manager."
In his affidavit previously reported on extensively by The Nassau Guardian, Cargill said, "The various contracts approved by the Board of Directors of NIB, in which Kenuth's Electric was awarded subcontracts, would have been independent decisions of the contractors.
"I would not have been involved in the decision-making."
Grant Thornton also said a contract for a Family Island clinic was awarded to a contractor who is allegedly Cargill's first cousin.
The contractor is identified as one of the NIB members to be sued for failure to pay National Insurance contributions.
Regarding the allegation that another substantial NIB contract for a construction project was unfairly awarded, Grant Thornton said the chairman of the Tender Committee John Pinder indicated that he was not aware of the fact that the owner of the company in question was Cargill's relative.
"Grant Thornton found that Mr. Algernon Cargill exercised significant control and influence over the operations of NIB," the report said.
It noted that the director has indicated that the owner of the company in question is a relative of his.
But Grant Thornton said it found it interesting that this company was about to win a contract with NIB for $8,653,660.25, "but disclosure of Cargill's relationship to them was limited".
Based on information provided to Grant Thornton by NIB, the company's National Insurance contributions may not have been current when it was awarded an $8,653,660.25 construction contract in 2009.
NIB's records indicate that the company made contributions to NIB totaling $2,362.98 in 2009.
The company generally hired immigrants, according to the NIB report.
Grant Thornton said it found it interesting that even though they were made aware of the relationship of the director and the complaint by members of the Tender Committee, members of the NIB Board went ahead without discussion of the implications of these issues and approved the contract.
* For a full report on bonuses, salary increases and Cargill's NIB credit card see today's National Review section.
With one game separating the first four teams in the women's division of the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA), executives believe pitchers from those squads will be sending 'heat' across the plate when they take to the field again.
But players will have to wait until Tuesday to bag a win in the regular season, as the annual All-Star games will be the highlight on the NPSA's calendar this weekend. Players were selected based on the statistics from the first half of the season.
Making the cut for President's Team, on the women's side, are Ernestine Stubbs, Jeanette Hilton, Donette Edwards, Alissa Albury, Lashanta Fowler, Lynsday Clarke, Shirlene Mackey, Katrel Dorsette, Vonette Nairn, Amarge Taylor, Melinda Bastian, Vanrika Rose, Keisha Miller, Lashanda Bethel, Shonte Cargill, Antonia Simms and Candice Smith. Carl Johnson and Nerissa Johnson will coach that team. Stephen Beneby is the team's manager.
The pitchers on the Vice President's Team are Brerisha Fawkes and Thela Johnson. Marissa Burrows and Shevette Taylor are the catchers while Crystal Delancey and Trevez Bridgewater will play first base. Stephanie Goodridge and Deandra Hart were selected for the second base position, and Maryann Ferguson and Tyrice Curry the third base. Other team members include Treika Munroe Jeannine Wallace, Vernita Evans, Shequel Smith, Ruth Coakley, Tikara Collie, Shantyna Stuart and Latonya Bowleg. Mario Ford is the team's manager while Sharlene Farrington and Michael Dillette will coach.
The top players in the men's divisions were also selected to play in this year's game. The president's list will feature ace pitcher Alcott Forbes and Deval Storr who will go up against Avery Rolle and Chris Curry. Both Rolle and Curry are on the Vice President's Team.
Angelo Dillete and Zhivargo Archer are the catchers for the President's squad; Adrian Pinder and Keron Sands will play first base. The second basemen are Maitland Demeritte and Kieron Munroe. Eric Johnson, Henry Martin, Philip Johnson and Ken Wood are the remaining infielders. Outfielders are Jordon Gibson, Antonio Burrows, Addie Finley, Lavaugh Ferguson, Richard Bain and Dino Sweeting.
Coaching the Vice President's Team is Andy Percentie. His team includes Daryle Dorsette, Garfield Bethel, Lamar Watkins, William Delancy, Winston Seymour Jr., Edron Knowles, Sherman Ferguson, Stennard Duncombe, D'Kyle Rolle, Lorenza Carter, Martin Burrows Jr. and Dean Rigby.
The All-Star players will take to field after the junior girl' game and the media versus the NPSA's executives and officials. The first pitch will be thrown at 5:30 p.m. All games will be played at the Bankers Field, located in the Baillou Hill Sporting Complex.
THE New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) continued regular season action Monday night with a double header at the Banker's Field, Baillou Hills Sporting complex.
Bommer George 7
In the men's feature contest, the John's Buccaneers blasted the Dorsey Park Boys Bommer George 13-7 as Culbert 'Buster' Evans and Cardinal Gilbert combined for six hits with three walks and five strike outs with the win and the save respectively.
David Nathan suffered the loss after he gave up 13 hits with seven walks and three strike outs. Deval Storr came in and pitched in the final inning, but it didn't make any difference.
Michael Thompson led John's offensive at ...
The Nassau Valley Eight-ball Association (NVEA), which consists of 19 pool teams under the leadership of its president Roger Major, held its season's closing ceremony and presentation of awards at Hollywood Billiards Pool Room last month. The afternoon started with four females shooting to be called The Bahamas' top female player for the year. In the first match, Karlene Evans defeated Kia Adderley. Also, Laurie Lightfoot defeated Kendanique Williams. The winners moved on to the final. In the final, Evans defeated Lightfoot 5-1 to win the ladies pool title of The Bahamas. Lightfoot placed second and Williams finished third. On the men's side, Eugene Wallace defeated Kevin 'K Bear' Rahming, 7-0, to win The Bahamas' men's title. Last year's champion, Everette Newry, placed third after defeating Jared Major.
In the team competition, the Chesapeake Bad Boys, led by captain Julian Seymour, defeated the Eliminators, led by Dario Woodside, 4-3. The match came down to the wire, with Desmond Burrows from the Bad Boys stunning Woodside in the last game of the series. Club 30, captained by Alfredo Rolle, defeated Arnette's Big Sticks, led by Michael Demeritte, for third place. In the B Division, the Sneaky Hustlers, captained by Felton Capron, defeated the Mega Hit Boys, captained Martin Burrows, 4-3, to win that division. Dario Sturrup won the Rookie of the Year award in the league.
The 2013/14 season has already started.
Arnette's Big Sticks 124, Chesapeake Bad Boys 91
Hollywood Destroyers 114, The Eliminators 111 (Renaldo Dean scored 1 ERO)
Club 30 Predators 132, Captain Vinney Cruisers 101
The Fantastics 122, Broken Arrow Spartans 99
Arnette's Stingers 116, The Ballers 103
Q-Club Shockers 121, New Hideout Prowlers 99 (Tario Kemp scored 1 ERO)
Hollywood Destroyers 141, Chesapeake Ballers 82
Q-Club Shockers 119, Chesapeake Unknowns 93
Captain Vinney Cruisers 121, Broken Arrow Sneaky Hustlers 108
Chesapeake Bad Boys 130, Club 30 Assassins 91 (Jared Major scored 1 ERO)
Eliminators 104, New Hideout Prowlers 95 (Dario Woodside scored 1 ERO)
The Fantastics 128, Arnette's Big Sticks 86
Over 40 & Sporty 111, The Underdogs 108
Captain Vinney Cruisers 121, Broken Arrow Sneaky Hustlers 108
Q-Club Shockers 119, Chesapeake Unknowns 93
The Fantastics 128, Arnette's Big Sticks 86
Chesapeake Bad Boys 130, Club 30 Assassins 91 (Jarette Major scored 1 ERO)
Hollywood Destroyers 141, Chesapeake Ballers 82
The Eliminators 104, New Hideout Prowlers 95 (Dario Woodside scored 1 ERO)
ERO - Player sinks all of his balls, not allowing the other player to shoot.