Today’s report on progress in the construction of a sewage pumphouse at Foga is interesting. It regards one of three community projects for a combined US $2 million that contractor Windward Roads agreed to fund and execute as penalty for its role in the “Larimar” bribery, money-laundering and forgery case.
The responsible former director was sentenced in court, as were a prominent politician and three others. But law enforcement authorities felt that instead of spending time and taxpayers’ money on prosecuting the company itself, a fine to be paid “in kind” by realising essential public facilities for which alternative financial means are not readily available made more sense.
The current infrastructure works will take wastewater from Sucker Garden to the processing plant at A.Th. Illidge Road, an obviously needed improvement to all who know the area. The cost is NAf. 677,156 in manpower, materials and equipment, roughly one-third of the total amount.
Some have questioned whether the arrangement does not constitute “buying justice” to some extent. However, the reality is that a business cannot be jailed and one has to also consider the risk of closure in the event of criminal proceedings, with all possible consequences for employees and local providers.
Under the circumstances this chosen path seems to be a pragmatic and effective approach that compensates for the damage done to society, because corruption almost inevitably means government and/or its entities paid more than they should have.