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NIB audit costs govt $861,000

Gibson defends high price of probe
  • Shane Gibson.

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: May 16, 2013

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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.

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