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Desmond Bannister says no cap on WSC contracts approved

As the Adrian Gibson trial resumed today, former Minister of Works, Desmond Bannister, took the witness stand, shedding light on the awarding of Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) contracts.

Bannister disclosed that contracts exceeding $250k were not subject to cabinet approval but greenlit by the WSC board.

Emphasizing the board's flexibility, he mentioned its ability to revise decisions.

Bannister clarified that he selectively reviewed board decisions, focusing on matters brought to his attention.

He revealed he directed WSC's executive chairman, Adrian Gibson, to broaden the list of approved contractors.

This instruction, Bannister noted, was based on scrutiny aligned with an audit report.

When questioned about a potential cap, Bannister asserted there was no such restriction, asserting that the $250k limit outlined in an email didn't apply to corporations.

He pointed out that this cap was designed for government departments, not entities like WSC.

As the testimony unfolded, Bannister acknowledged contracts surpassing $250k, reaching into the millions, and reluctantly disclosed the Ministry of Finance as providing funding for such hefty amounts.

In a personal revelation, Bannister shared his mentorship of Gibson, dating back to 2000.

When probed about Gibson's wealth, Bannister remained non-committal, stating he was only aware of some of Gibson’s assets.

He mentioned renting cars from Gibson during personal visits to Long Island, providing a glimpse into their longstanding connection.

Gibson is accused of failing to declare his interest in contracts awarded by the corporation.

Prosecutors allege that Gibson gained a financial advantage of more than $1 million from contracts granted Elite Maintenance and Baha Maintenance and Restoration and that he laundered the illicitly obtained funds by purchasing properties and vehicles.

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