Police still probing Dorian corruption claims

Police still probing Dorian corruption claims
Aerial shot of destruction in Abaco in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Investigators interviewed volunteer Ian Goodfellow, who made claims

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said yesterday authorities were still probing claims of corruption in Abaco.

During a town meeting for displaced Abaconians in December, Ian Goodfellow, a Bahamian volunteer, alleged corruption has impeded relief efforts on their island.

Days later, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he instructed the commissioner to probe the matter.

Responding to questions from Eyewitness News Online at a press conference at police headquarters, Ferguson confirmed authorities interviewed Goodfellow and the investigation was ongoing.

“The matter was referred to police and the police have seen that person so far, and we have interviewed that person

“[Investigators] are doing so other work and as soon as we are done we will be able to reveal some information.”

Asked whether police have determined there was veracity to the claims, Ferguson replied: “That’s not what I said. I just leave it at the fact that information was reported to police. We have seen the individual. Police are doing some more work with respect to those claims.”

At the town meeting, Goodfellow pointed to one particular instance where he claimed an NGO requested a meeting with the government to discuss the rebuilding of Cooper’s Town School.

However, Goodfellow said that NGO was told, ‘if you bring a suitcase with $30,000 you can have that meeting’.

He did not indicate who requested the money.

Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis has suggested legal action could follow if the “reckless” claim could not be supported by evidence.

Similarly, the prime minister said – in the absence of evidence – Goodfellow’s claims would be “irresponsible” and necessitate an apology to the Bahamian people.

It is unclear when the police investigation into the matter will be completed.

Dorian leveled communities of Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 1-3, killing at least 71 people and impacting an estimated 30,000.

In the aftermath of the record Category 5 storm, droves on international and local non-governmental organizations rushed to the affected islands to provide aid, assist in the search and rescue effort, and the ongoing recovery effort.