Cargill seeks to kill NIB report
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 14, 2013
Suspended National Insurance Board (NIB) Director Algernon Cargill has asked the Supreme Court to set aside the findings of a forensic report into allegations of misconduct made against him last year.
In an application for judicial review filed yesterday, Cargill also asked the court to “quash the decision of the minister of labor and national insurance (Shane Gibson) to appoint the accounting firm of Grant Thornton”, which conducted the forensic review.
Cargill is also seeking a declaration that Gibson’s appointment of Grant Thornton “amounts to a usurpation of the power of the Board of NIB”.
In the event the court finds that Grant Thornton was properly appointed, Cargill is asking for a declaration “that the procedure followed by Grant Thornton in the forensic review was unfair, arbitrary and in breach of the rules of natural justice”.
Cargill contends that the appointment of the accounting firm was not in compliance with the NIB Act because the appointment was not made by the board with prior resolution and the job did not go to tender.
He submits the payment of Grant Thornton was possibly over $600,000.
The court document claims that the auditors’ conduct was irregular because they refused to provide Cargill, the principal subject of the review, with questions or issues to be discussed that would have enabled him to adequately respond to the review.
“Other employees of the National Insurance Board were provided with a list of questions prior to their interview by agents of Grant Thornton,” the document states.
The document adds that contrary to its duty to act fairly, Grant Thornton released the audit without interviewing Cargill.
“Contrary to its duty of fairness, Grant Thornton failed/refused to provide the applicant (Cargill) with a fair warning that Grant Thornton intended to make adverse findings against the applicant,” the court document claims.
“In all the circumstances the applicant had a legitimate expectation and was entitled to be provided with the allegations made against him and those arising in the course of the investigation and be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard prior to the conclusion of the forensic review.
“For the reasons given...the minister of labour and national insurance and Grant Thornton failed to act fairly; thereby, constituting an abuse of the applicant’s constitutional entitlement to due process of the law.”
The forensic audit found that bonuses may have been improperly paid to Cargill and other executives, and also highlighted reported irregularities in the awarding 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.
These are among the key findings contained in the report that is expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly soon.
The government engaged Grant Thornton to conduct the review after (now fired) NIB Chairman Gregory Moss wrote Gibson last November advising that the Board of NIB had reached a unanimous decision to fire Cargill.
In the letter, Moss made a series of serious allegations against the director.
Gibson has said the report will be tabled after Cargill gets a chance to respond to the adverse findings against him.
However, the minister said the director has until May 21 to meet with the board.
A separate report lays out the findings of allegations made by Cargill against Moss.
Last November, Cargill took legal action against Moss and NIB following the allegations. That matter remains outstanding.