Cargill responds to NIB report
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: May 15, 2013
Suspended National Insurance Board (NIB) Director Algernon Cargill yesterday defended the bonuses and salaries that were awarded to him and other executives between 2010 and 2012, and charged that the accountants who carried out a forensic review into allegations against him left out crucial evidence in their report to the government.
Cargill added that Grant Thornton’s “shallow” investigation was slanted and riddled with meritless opinions.
His comments are in a 48-page rebuttal that was sent to NIB Chairman Father James Moultrie along with additional pages of supporting evidence yesterday.
That document contains a number of serious accusations against Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson and his oversight of NIB.
Cargill and his legal team met with members of the board of NIB yesterday afternoon to discuss the findings of the forensic review, his response to the allegations against him and his future with the social security agency.
Cargill said Grant Thornton’s findings regarding salaries and bonuses are “not supported by fact” although the auditors were provided with clarifying evidence.
The auditors said they found no evidence to show that ministerial approval was secured for the bonuses and certain salary increases.
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 minister.
In his response, Cargill said the bonuses and salaries had the approval of NIB’s human resource’s committee and then Chairman Patrick Ward.
“At no time did I have the authority to increase my salary and the evidence clearly shows that increases were not provided singularly to me, but collectively to all executives and in some cases the increases provided to some executives exceeded the approved increases that I actually received,” Cargill noted.
The Nassau Guardian has reported that eight NIB executives and one person on contract got bonuses of $723,333 between January 2010 and May 2012, according to NIB files.
Cargill received $194,791.66 in bonuses during that time.
Cargill noted that the bonuses were a part of NIB’s annual budget and subject to strict line-by-line review.
“The bonus payments are a separate line item on NIB’s annual budget and were audited annually by external auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers. . .and no exceptions were ever raised to management, to the board of directors. . .about salary adjustments and/or over-base compensation payments to executive management,” he wrote.
Cargill also said that Grant Thornton’s report found no abuse of his corporate credit card.
He said the forensic report did not reveal that Ward approved the card and that NIB’s internal audit department conducted a detailed review of every transaction and “found no irregularities”.
Cargill also hit out at Gibson for the “misplaced blame” directed at him and suggested that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is smearing his name.
Cargill also questioned why Gibson and PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts have made “troubling” public allegations against him considering his family’s long ties to the party.
Cargill added that while his political affiliation does not interfere with the execution of his job, he has been a long-standing supporter of the PLP.
He said he has been forced to defend his name against allegations from former NIB Chairman Gregory Moss and Gibson, and had to fend off verbal attacks from Roberts.
He said his father was buried earlier this year “with his PLP stalwart councilor medallion on his neck” and added that his older brother is an active PLP stalwart councilor.
Cargill said his family lives in the Yamacraw constituency and had publicly supported area MP Melanie Griffin for years.
“Although my political affiliation is of no significant consequence and relevance to this matter, any careful review would have confirmed complete alignment with my family,” he wrote.
Cargill said that former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who hired him as NIB director, never inquired about his political affiliation.
“I was hired to do a job and chose to resign my former position at a major international company, at a significant financial pay cut, to join the National Insurance Board and the terms of my contract, that includes provision for compensation, are now a matter of public record and debate.”
Cargill was suspended from NIB, with pay, pending the findings of Grant Thornton’s probe.
He is seeking a judicial review of the audit.