Transport officials have confirmed that legal steps are being taken to track down taxpayer money paid to a man in Belgium for new public buses that never materialised.
You may recall the report filed by Bermuda Real last June on the $300,000 paid in advance to a man in Belgium who disappeared.
The transaction was made in 2015 when former Public Transportation Board Director, Dan Simmons, who is now retired, was told not to sign off on payment by high ranking government officials.
When Bermuda Real first published this report, a spokesperson said the Ministry was “aware of some inconsistencies in respect of outstanding bus deliveries” and that they were “working with various entities including the Attorney General’s Chambers to ensure that issues are dealt with in an appropriate manner. Given the nature of this matter it would be inappropriate to comment further,” he added.
When asked for an update this month, nearly a year later, he said: “It is a legal matter and steps are being taken pursuant to Belgian law.” He declined to say what exactly those steps are, or the status of any progress made to date on the transaction made two years ago.
Meanwhile, with no new buses expected until later this year, Bermuda’s ageing bus fleet continues to be plagued by breakdowns and cancellations.
On that note, the spokesman said: “There remains some fluctuation in the number of buses designated as out-of-service.” But he said: “The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) continues its best efforts to keep up with the demands of the existing bus schedule, by juggling the available resources of the bus fleet.
“Where it is necessary, the DPT may be required to cancel the occasional run from a route that schedules bus departures at 15-minute intervals,” he added.
More breakdowns marked the start of this week on Monday, when DPT announced that “service interruption” affected “four bus runs used by school children”. But they said there was “still expected to be sufficient lift coming from St George’s and Dockyard to collect all students”. The DPT also apologised for any inconvenience caused as a result of the cancellations.