NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Barbara Hanna was granted a contract nearly three times the amount of her original cleaning contract for the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), weeks after she testified in a criminal case against former Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Chairman Frank Smith, it was revealed during a special sitting of court on Saturday.
During her cross-examination by lead attorney for Smith, Keith Knight, QC, Hanna said the contract she received in 2016 paid approximately $40,000 a month but her 2017 contract was worth around $155,000 a month.
It was previously reported that Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands approved the second contract at an estimated at $1.9m for Barbara Hanna’s Magic Touch cleaning company without going through the normal procedure. It was also reported that Hanna donated to Sands’ campaign and she and her son also campaigned for him.
Despite pressure from Knight, Hanna maintained that she was paying Smith $5,000 a month, which she told the court caused her financial and health problems. Hanna said because she had to pay Smith she was unable to pay National Insurance for her employees or pay value-added tax (VAT). She said she struggled every month and was barely able to make it.
Hanna also denied she was told by Sands to apply for the second contract, despite Dr. Sands testifying he told her to apply. In fact, Hanna said she never had any discussions with Sands about the second contract at all.
When questioned about her meetings with National Security Minister Marvin Dames, Hanna said she could not recall when they met or what they specifically spoke about.
The Crown closed its case on Saturday and the Defense is expected to present a no case submission in hopes of having the case thrown out when the court meets again on January 15.
The Crown is being represented by Edward Jenkins, QC, and the case is being heard before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.