Former Health Minister charged for rental of controversial Sussex Street Bond
Former Minister of Health, Dr George Norton was on Tuesday slapped with a charge of Misconduct in Public Office by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for the rental of the controversial Sussex Street Bond.
Dr Norton appeared before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, where he was not required to plea to the indictable charge. Dr Norton, who was represented by attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes and Marissa Leander, was placed on $400,000 bail and was required to lodge his passport with the matter being adjourned to April 27, 2021.
SOCU built their case after an audit by Auditor-General, Deodat Sharma, revealed startling discoveries. Per the findings of the audit, it was disclosed that Dr Norton, in his capacity as Health Minister in 2016, had unlawfully instructed Trevor Thomas, his Permanent Secretary (PS) at the time to “not” engage the National Procurement and Tender Board Administration (NPTAB) as it relates to the tendering and so, he single-sourced Linden Holding Inc. the multi-million dollar contract.
Sources close to the investigations revealed to the News Room that Dr Norton had also instructed his PS to prepare a Cabinet Memorandum for him to take to Cabinet to deliberate on the matter. Later on, Thomas was said to have received a copy of Cabinet’s decision, giving the award the stamp of approval. Dr Norton also allegedly instructed him to sign the contract, which he did.
The agreement was then penned on July 20, 2016, between the Linden Holding Inc. and the PS of the Health Ministry for a three year period commencing June 1 with a monthly rental fee of $12.5 million.
The company was also paid an advancement of $37.5 million representing two months rent and a security deposit.