Former Bahamas senator arrested in bribery and fraud investigation

21 Jul
Former Bahamas senator arrested in bribery and fraud investigation

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) senator and chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Frank Smith was arrested and questioned by Bahamas police for nearly six hours in relation to allegations of extortion and fraud by false pretenses on Wednesday, according to his attorney Damian Gomez.

Gomez, the former minister of state for legal affairs, said Smith, who denies the allegations, would be held in police custody overnight at a police station.

The Nassau Guardian spoke with Gomez shortly after police had concluded questioning Smith at the Central Detective Unit (CDU).

Gomez said he and Smith arranged to meet with officers at CDU on Tuesday but came in at about 10 am on Wednesday.

He said present during the questioning was an officer from the newly-established Anti-Corruption Unit.

When asked if Smith will be charged in court, Gomez said, “I assume they do because they are holding him overnight.

“If they see the evidence they may well change their minds. I will give them that information tomorrow morning.”

Gomez said he and the police have agreed to meet at 10 am on Thursday where “we will present them with the documentary evidence that we have which we say exonerates him”.

“He should be released. I don’t think this should go any further,” Gomez said.

When asked if the allegations were in relation to Smith’s time as chairman of the PHA, Gomez said, “In a sense, yes. This is really someone getting up and deciding to injure.”

Gomez said he intends to commence “civil suits against” Smith’s accusers.

Gomez said Smith was calm while in custody.

Philip McKenzie also represents Smith.

Smith, a former vice chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), is a certified public accountant and served as the member of Parliament for the St. Thomas More constituency from 2007 to 2012.

He lost his nomination bid to run for the PLP in the Free Town constituency in the 2017 general election. The party nominated Wayne Munroe, QC, who lost to the Free National Movement’s Dionisio D’Aguilar.

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Senior Reporter

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