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Moss defended conflict claim on proposed NIB energy audit

  • Gregory Moss.

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: May 17, 2013

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Fired National Insurance Board (NIB) Chairman Gregory Moss told Grant Thornton (Bahamas) that claims that he directed NIB to pay $42,000 for an energy audit to a firm his business partner owned were an “absolute unmitigated lie”.

The allegation is in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court last year by Algernon Cargill, who was fired from his post as director of NIB yesterday.

When confronted with these claims, Moss said he never gave an order to pay the firm, Earth and Sun Energy Company Ltd., $42,000, the report said.

That company is owned by Gregory Smith, a businessman, who is Moss’ partner is an office complex in Grand Bahama, the affidavit said.

Moss admitted that he had a business relationship with Smith in a company other than Earth and Sun Energy.

He said he owned 49.5 percent of that company and Smith owned one percent. Moss also said that he was not connected to Earth and Sun Energy Company in any way.

Moss told the investigators that he did not recall speaking to Cargill about the energy audit.

However, Cargill claimed in his affidavit that during a meeting at the Hilton hotel last July, Moss asked for his help in getting approval to have an energy study for NIB done by Earth and Sun Energy Company Ltd.

“The due diligence on this company indicated that it was newly incorporated and there was no evidence provided that the company had successfully completed any energy studies that were beneficial to its clients,” Cargill claimed in the affidavit.

Cargill also said Moss asked Theresa Burrows, NIB’s VP of business support, to prepare a check for $42,000 for full payment for the study.

Cargill claimed that Burrows did not act right away and Moss then asked Cecile Bethel, senior deputy director of operations, to prepare the $42,000 check.

“Mrs. Bethel directed Mr. Osbourne Moxey, manager [of] projects, to prepare the check and he refused, although she advised him that he should comply with a request from the chairman,” Cargill claimed.

“Mr. Moxey liaised with Ms. Burrows and me and was advised independently by both of us to not proceed with the issuance of the check as it was not NIB's policy to pay fully in advance for any work to be completed.

“And secondly, we were not satisfied that any benefit could be derived to NIB from the study to be completed by Gregory Smith's newly incorporated company.”

Cargill also claimed that Moxey said NIB had several offers for free energy studies and that a similar study was done in 2011 for approximately $3,000.

Cargill said Moss was told during a meeting that Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson was reluctant to approve the payment.

“Ms. Theresa Burrows was subsequently advised by Gibson to not proceed with the energy study payment and the efforts to obtain the $42,000 payment from NIB were abandoned by Mr. Gregory Moss,” Cargill claimed.

However, Moss told Grant Thornton that it was Burrows who told him that NIB had gotten a proposal from Earth and Sun Energy to launch the audit.

“He said that Ms. Burrows told him that there had been other proposals in the past to conduct energy audits and that those proposals did not call for any up front payments,” the report said.

“He said he told Ms. Burrows to follow whatever was the standard procedure in NIB and as far as he knew no contract was ever concluded with Earth and Sun Energy Company Ltd. and no check was ever issued by NIB in respect of that matter.”

The report said that investigators confirmed that Earth and Sun Energy Company was never contracted for work for NIB.

Gibson tabled the forensic report in the House of Assembly on Wednesday along with Grant Thornton’s investigation into allegations against Cargill.

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 was placed on administrative leave, with pay, pending the findings of that probe.

After he was placed on leave Cargill took legal action against Moss and NIB.

In his affidavit, he made a series of allegations against Moss.

The forensic investigation cost the government $861,606.

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