NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The ongoing bribery case of former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson was delayed yesterday for reasons undisclosed by the Supreme Court.
The trial is expected to resume today.
Gibson, 58, who had ministerial responsibility for the National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit (NRRU) in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, has been accused of bribing contractor Jonathon Ash between mid-January 2017 to the end of March to expedite his payments.
The court was expected to hear additional testimony from Sergeant 1492 Dale Strachan, who told the court Friday that he extracted WhatsApp text and voice messages between Gibson and Ash.
Strachan was expected to advise the court on whether authorities had audio recordings of the police interviews at the Central Detective Unit with Ash and Deborah Bastian, the woman whom prosecutors allege received and delivered “dirty money” to Gibson.
Bastian was responsible for verifying submitted bills from NRRU contractors before sending them to the Public Treasury. The video and audio recordings of Gibson’s interview at CDU was entered into evidence last Friday.
Inspector Shavone Dames testified her analysis of logs showed Ash made 13 calls to Gibson between January 1 and April 30.
She said Bastian made 136 direct calls to Gibson and the then minister made 130 calls to her. These did not include WhatsApp calls. Jack Thompson, the then administrator for the NRRU under the former administration also testified last Friday. Thompson was responsible for coordinating restoration efforts, and told the court Gibson established a protocol to ensure transparency and fairness to the contract process amid concerns that numerous contractors were submitting large bills for clean-up process.
Thompson, who is now permanent secretary in the new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, said Gibson issued a stop order for work until the protocol
was in effect.