McAllister Hanchell, former Turks and Caicos Islands minister of natural resources, was interviewed and subsequently arrested and charged by the special investigations and prosecution team (SIPT).
Hanchell, 42, is another member of the uber-corrupt former Misick administration which set new standards for government corruption, even for the Caribbean.
By the grace of God, the T&C was still a British territory which enabled Britain to step in and save the country from the clutches of the corrupt. Unfortunately, The Bahamas is a sovereign country so corruption can flourish unabated and it has nearly ruined the once-idyllic nation.
Although unnamed in a corresponding statement issued by the SIPT also on Tuesday, Hanchell appears to have been charged with conspiring to receive bribes.
“I am innocent and will defend this charge,” Hanchell said.
According to the SIPT another 47-year-old man was also arrested and charged on Tuesday with money laundering. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the second man arrested is attorney at law Clayton Greene, who is also the current leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) and former Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Both men are to appear in court on Friday.
Hanchell’s arrest makes him the fourth former PNP minister to be arrested by the SIPT, along with a number of their relatives and attorneys.
The 265-page final report of the Turks and Caicos Islands 2008-9 Commission of Inquiry into possible corruption, or other serious dishonesty in relation to past and present elected members of the legislature contained a number of findings of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty in relation to Hanchell and recommended criminal investigation in relation to the following and other similar matters:
— Hanchell, in accepting from Arlington Musgrove payments totalling over $300,000 into the PNP South Caicos account purportedly as campaign funding for the February 2007 election, possibly entered into a corrupt transaction;
— Hanchell, in his office of minister for natural resources, entered into possibly corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest transactions by offering on behalf of the government grants of Crown Land to himself and/or to companies that he substantially owned or controlled;
— Hanchell potentially abused his ministerial position by instructing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Natural Resources to allocate Crown Land to individuals of his choice, or to allocate, or instruct the Permanent Secretary or other of his departmental officers to allocate Crown Land to individuals identified and notified to him by fellow Ministers, in all or most cases without proper regard to the Crown Land Policy;
— Hanchell may have participated in possibly corruption arrangements in which offers of Crown Land were made to individuals, who had not applied for the land, with a view to the recipients of the offers selling the land on quickly to developers at a substantial profit for all the parties involved;
— A possibility of corruption and/or other serious dishonesty, including misfeasance in public office, in relation to Hanchell in the chain of events leading to secret payment by Dr Cem Kinay of $500,000 to Misick in January 2007;
— Hanchell possibly abused his ministerial position and/or acted corruptly or otherwise seriously dishonestly and/or in misfeasance of his public office, by deliberately undermining the authority of the Chief Valuation Officer, in relation to the valuation of land at Joe Grant Cay, by rejecting the valuations undertaken by him, with a view, possibly, to ensuring a swift completion of sale of the land to the consortium led by Dr Kinay at a very large undervaluation.
Other findings by the Commission in relation to Hanchell in respect of which no recommendations were made are as follows:
— Throughout his period of membership of the Legislature, Hanchell repeatedly failed to make full and accurate declarations of his interests to the Registrar of Interests, as required by the Registrations of Interests Ordinance, including his shared interest through Windsor Investment Group Ltd in the Casablanca Casino on Providenciales; and he was also distinctly slow and patchy in his disclosure to the Commission.