FNM govt unfroze Jonathan Ash’s bank account during Gibson trial
The Minnis Administration unfroze the bank account of prosecution witness Jonathan Ash at the start of former PLP Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson’s botched bribery trial, the Gallery has learned.
Ash, who performed cleanup work in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew under the Christie Administration, had his bank account frozen when authorities questioned him about the nature of cleanup contracts he received.
The fact that his bank account was frozen before charges were filed against Gibson and the funds were released just before Ash took the witness stand in the highly publicized Gibson trial suggests that the shady businessman was manipulated into testifying.
Disgraced lead investigator in the case ASP Debra Thompson submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court, stating Ash’s bank account was being investigated by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).
However, when Thompson was pressed for the results of that investigation two years later, she submitted a second affidavit to the court, stating the police force had made a mistake and was no longer investigating the bank account.
During the trial in 2019, the defense poked numerous holes in the 35-year-old’s flimsy story and the unconvinced jury returned a not guilty verdict.
Ash was also the prosecution’s key witness in the bribery case of former Minister of Housing Kenred Dorsett. However, four years later, the case has been tossed out after Ash refused to testify.
Attorney General Ryan Pinder told the media on Tuesday that Ash wanted the government to pay him to take the witness stand.
“Mr. Ash was seeking remuneration for his testimony. That is not how the DPP functions. That request was immediately denied. Mr. Ash said he would not give testimony and, therefore, without the witness there was no case to proceed with,” Pinder said.
He added, “He was rather clear. He wanted money for evidence.”
Ash’s demand for payment speaks volumes of his character and further proves he was not the complainant in the cases against Gibson or Dorsett, but was simply an unreliable pawn in the Minnis government’s political games.
Even after Ash was busted in 2020 for illegally selling alcohol at Made Men Liquor Store on Faith Avenue, the Minnis government bent over backwards to keep him sweet.
While other Covid lawbreakers were shackled and dragged to the Magistrate’s Court, Ash freely raced up the steps of the court, where he was charged and convicted.
The police officer who assisted Ash in his illegal business venture was allowed to quietly retire from the police force with full honors.