Bribery charges against members of the former Perry Christie-led Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) are still being dished out as a third member of the party is now being hauled to court. On Thursday, the former Labour and National Insurance Minister, Shane Gibson, was smacked with one count of misconduct in public office, 16 counts of bribery, two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, two count of conspiracy to commit extortion and 15 counts of extortion.
One of the cases highlighted was said to be between January 2 and April 30 of this year. Gibson allegedly accepted $610,000 in bribes Jonathan Ash, a private citizen, for using his influence to approve outstanding payments owed to Ash by the Government. As for the extortion charges, Gibson is accused of demanding the $610,000 from Ash between February 7, 2017 and March 30. The conspiracy to commit extortion allegedly occurred between the same dates.
In another conspiracy charge, Gibson is accused of conspiring with another person to demand $250,000 from Ash. It alleges that Gibson and another person received $250,000 from Ash. Gibson was not required to plead to the charges. He was granted bail of $40,000 with two sureties.
The case was adjourned until October 3, but prior to that Gibson will return to court in September for a constitutional challenge to the Bail Act, his attorney Wayne Munroe QC told reporters.
Last month, former Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett was charged with using his former ministerial position to extort and solicit $120,000 in bribes from the same Ash at the centre of Gibson’s charges. Former PLP Senator Frank Smith has also been slapped with 15 criminal charges relating to solicitation of $$65,000 in bribes from a woman he is said to have assisted in getting a contract.