Crown prosecutor: Nothing sinister about $2 million contract

Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands.

Decision on no case submission expected Feb. 1

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Lead prosecutor for the crown, Edward Jenkins QC, told the court on Thursday that there was nothing sinister about Health Minister Dr Duane Sands approving a nearly $2 million cleaning contract for Barbara Hanna without board approval, despite Hanna donating to his political campaign and being the centre of a bribery and extortion case.

During his response to the defense’s no case submission on Thursday, Jenkins also denied that the charges against former Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Chairman Frank Smith was a part of a conspiracy by the government because Hanna is not “capable” of thinking up a scheme of this magnitude.

When asked by Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson Pratt why Hanna called Smith to warn him that the people were out to get him, when she claimed he extorted her for $60,000, Jenkins said human behaviour never surprises him and he insisted the warning was “normal behaviour”.

Ferguson Pratt also asked why Hanna would borrow money from Smith’s Lending company after the alleged extortion took place if she was afraid of him, especially when she had good relationships with banks and could have gotten a loan elsewhere.

Jenkins did not directly answer the question.

Jenkins also insisted that Hanna never intended to lie or deceive the court but the times she was “mistaken” it was because she was “annoyed or frustrated with the process,” particularly when she denied knowing who her husband was.

When asked why Hanna did not tell her son, who was a police officer, that she was being extorted, Jenkins said, “some people don’t want to bother their children”.

His comments came after Ferguson-Pratt decided to let the case continue, after adjourning early on Wednesday to review the law after new information came to light.

Ferguson-Pratt said notwithstanding the new information she wanted the no case submission to  be properly ventilated

Jenkins continues with his response today. A decision on the no case submission is expected to be made on February 1.