Two weeks after a Bermuda Real report on the disappearance of $300,000 for new buses that never made it to Bermuda, our exclusive report will be the subject of Parliamentary Questions in the House of Assembly on Friday.
Minister of Economic Development, Dr Grant Gibbons, is due to provide oral responses to questions from Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott before the lunch break on the last day of parliamentary proceedings.
On hearing our report, Mr Scott rushed through questions to get answers before the House rises until November.
Those questions include whether or not the Minister is aware of media reports that both an unspecified individual and an advance payment of $300,000 have both gone missing regarding the purchase and delivery of Government buses?
He also asked Dr Gibbons to confirm that the standard tendering procedure in undertaking the purchase of buses for the Public Transportation Board had been followed when providing the unspecified individual with a $300,000 deposit?
And he has called on the Minister to provide the specific steps that have been taken in order to hold the unspecified individual accountable for the recovery and return of the missing $300,000 which government provided to him?
On June 27th Bermuda Real reported that former Director of Public Transportation Dan Simmons pushed through an advance to a man in Belgium, despite being told not to do so by top government officials.
The funds were pushed through, but the man paid disappeared with local taxpayers’ money, and no buses were ever delivered to Bermuda.
To date, it has yet to be confirmed just how much money vanished in mid air. Initial reports reaching Bermuda Real suggested that it could have been as much as $1 million. A Transport Ministry spokesperson indicated that $300,000 went missing.
The spokesperson also said confirmed that Government was “pursuing avenues of investigation and recovery”.
The story prompted heavy criticism from the Shadow Minister who said our report pointed up “irresponsibility and incompetence at its highest”. But the Minister, Senator Michael Fahy countered Mr Scott and said his concerns regarding money supposedly lost were “absurd and way off-base”.
“We don’t know if it’s $300,000 or if it is as much as a million, which goes on top of the $18 million that went missing under Senator Fahy’s watch,” said Mr Scott, who pointed up the Corporation of Hamilton’s $18 million debt as a result of the failed Par-la-Ville development.
He also asked: “What else is going on behind the scenes?” But Senator Fahy countered: “These very personal insinuations are a little tiresome.”
Bermuda Real will be in the House of Assembly to update this story on the answers to be provided by Dr Grant Gibbons.
By Ceola Wilson
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