Another of Christie’s ‘Big Investors’ Turns Out to be a Crook

Friday 05th, August 2011 / 09:26 Published by

Remember Jasper Knabb?  He was the former chief executive officer of Pegasus Wireless Corporation, the company that then Prime Minister Perry Christie said would transform the economy of Grand Bahama.

Mr Christie and his crony cabinet hastily approved a promised multi-million-dollar operation that Knabb had supposedly planned for Grand Bahama.  Christie, with much fanfare, attended the opening of Knabb’s wireless plant only three months after he and Pegasus CEO Jasper Knabb announced the scam, er, I mean plan.

At the time, Christie said that Pegasus would be a defining intervention into the economy of The Bahamas and Grand Bahama.

“You will always be in the spotlight because you are making a defining investment,” Christie said to Knabb at the opening.

Christie, naive as ever, noted that Knabb never once requested concessions of the government and has already pumped over $5 million directly into the Freeport economy. Too good to be true?  You bet!  Mr Christie failed to mention that the$5 milion mainly went to his cronies for “legal” services.  Pleasant Bridgewater, the wretched MP for Marco City and later a PLP Senator who barely escaped a conviction for attempting to extort John Travolta, was Knabb’s attorney.

At the time Christie blasted sceptics saying that people who are nowhere connected to governance are caught up in the controversy.

After all, Knabb had promised to donate a computer lab to Hugh Campbell Primary and to Bishop Michael Eldon High School, as well as 10 full scholarships a year for the next five years to the College of the Bahamas.

Then Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe described Knabb as a man with a big heart, very thoughtful, bright and determined.

“There were many who thought that he was not real. He did not have the substance nor the quality of what he pretended to have, only for us to believe in him, trust him and he won favour with many Bahamians,” the foolish minister said.

Knabb told Christie and his cronies that Pegasus Wireless was a profitable company and had earned $100 million in revenue. One assumed that Mr Christie and his cronies had done due diligence on Knabb. But remember what grandpa always said, “to assume makes an ass out of u and me.”  Grandpa was right.

Within weeks Knabb had disappeared leaving many Bahamians holding the bag.

It turned out that Knabb had made all sorts of grandiose but empty promises to workers and the Freeport community. Promises that were publicly endorsed by former Prime Minister Perry Christie, who either ignored due diligence or was using the scam operation to bolster the election chances of PLP candidate Pleasant Bridgewater, who allegedly profited handsomely from the scam.

Fast forward to now. Knabb has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a California court – for crimes committed during his business here in The Bahamas.

Knabb admitted in a San Francisco federal court that he carried out a scheme to defraud the very company he was working for. It was revealed that between May 2005 and January 2008, Knabb had Pegasus issue more than 490 million shares to satisfy bogus debt, with his family, friends, and associates netting more than $25 million.

He also pleaded guilty to securities fraud and maintaining false books.

Ironically, Knabb recalled to the court that he was on his way to Mexico when he met then Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

“You [The Bahamas] are really lucky you have those two men,” he said then. “They showed me The Bahamas was the right choice and now I have no doubts in the country.”

In other words, Christie and Wilchombe didn’t just approve the rancid deal, they actually are the ones who talked the scammer into scamming The Bahamas.

This is just one example of Perry Christie’s complete incompetence. One really has to question the intelligence and ethics of anyone who can even think of re-electing Perry Christie and his crooked cronies back into office.

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