- The Gallery
Political prosecutions backfire on FNM
FNM claims of corruption against the PLP are more hot air than smoking gun.
The politically motivated prosecutions aimed at supporting these false claims collapsed miserably at the highest courts.
And the trials had the unintended consequence of revealing corruption by the FNM.
The Frank Smith bribery trial exposed corruption by National Security Minister Marvin Dames and disgraced former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands, who was forced to quit last year after getting caught up in a bribery scandal of his own.
The evidence revealed both ministers were in constant contact with cleaning company owner Barbara Hanna before she alleged that Frank Smith solicited bribes from her.
In a feeble attempt to explain his inappropriate calls to Hanna, Dames said she was “desperate to make a complaint to police.”
But Hanna said the police contacted her. When she finally went to police, Hanna said she didn’t have the “slightest idea” why they wanted to see her “until they opened up.”
Dr Sands was also in contact with Hanna before she made her complaint to police. He also gave her a company a $1.9 million contract, which appeared to be motivation for her to lie.
In her ruling Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt said it was unfortunate that the internal auditor’s report, mandated by the PHA Board, had not been made available. As a result, “the spectre of impropriety in the award by Dr Sands remains unresolved.”
Then, the police produced what they thought was a smoking gun: call logs that purported to show that Smith was making repeated calls to Hanna.
But the prosecution was forced to abandon their reliance on the call logs after Smith’s phone bills showed that Hanna was the one repeatedly calling him.
The Court ruled, “I am satisfied that it is reasonable to find the call logs were likely manipulated to give the impression that the accused was persistently calling the virtual complainant when in fact it was in reverse.”
Despite the Court’s finding of corruption on the part of the government ministers and the police, there have been no consequences.
While the FNM tried to use the police to prove corruption claims against the PLP, ensuing trials have shown that the FNMs are the corrupt ones, who tampered with evidence and bribed witnesses to make false complaints.