How did the Bahamian Treasury benefit from the millions collected in TRAVEL VISA MONEY?! – THAT’s THE QUESTION!

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Allegations of cronyism and lack of transparency swirl around the KanOo matter!

The Editor 4th July, 2021
Bahamas Press

As allegations of cronyism and lack of transparency swirl around the KanOo matter Bahamians are still in the dark as to how the contract was awarded and more importantly where the alleged millions of fees collected have been applied.

And to blunt the allegations, KanOo officials muddied the waters even more. In an article in Tribune Business reported on July 2 nd , 2021, KanOo officials stated, “A Bahamian digital payments provider yesterday argued that “reckless” attacks on it were threatening to undermine efforts to make The Bahamas a world leader in Central Bank-backed digital currencies. Nicholas Rees, chairman and co-founder of KanOo, told Tribune Business that the relentless onslaught suffered by the company over the past two weeks could dent consumer and business confidence
in adopting the Sand Dollar for payments transactions.

Given that KanOo has been awarded the contract to provide the “multi-signature Sand Dollar wallet” to all government departments and agencies, so that they can accept payments in digital currency from the Bahamian public, Mr Rees said efforts “to discredit our technology” could deter persons from using this mechanism.

“It’s highly reckless to be attacking any payment service provider in this
environment given what we’re doing with the Sand Dollar,” he argued to this newspaper.

“From a jurisdictional standpoint, it’s highly irresponsible to be making
these allegations. It’s designed to discredit our technology because of the success we’re having in the marketplace. Our technology has been validated by the Central Bank. We were the first to become inter-operable [with the Sand Dollar] and integrated into third party mobile applications. This is a world first that has never been done before”.

In my opinion, this is a classic case of going on the attack against well intended persons who have expressed concern over where the funds collected have been applied and not addressing the issue at hand. The issue at hand is not the effectiveness and convenience of Digital Wallets, that has been proved! We all now use Digital Wallets.

The issue is how much was collected?

Whether cronyism was involved; where the funds are?

How much has been collected on behalf of the Bahamian taxpayers?

And has the Bahamas Treasury benefitted from this contract?

KanOo is a huge issue with Bahamians no matter how much spin and hyperbolic statements are made to deflect the mounting criticism of the cost of travel visa fees and who is benefitting.

It was therefore disingenuous to conflate what appears to be an evolving scandal with the viability of the Digital Sand Dollar. Clearly, if this
were so the Central Bank would have made a statement to clarify the matter. But as usual, nothing from the Central Bank to allay the concerns of Bahamians.

Bahamians must be satisfied that it was an accident that the same group of
persons appear to be benefitting from FNM government contracts and that the appearance of cronyism is unfounded.

Until these concerns are addressed this will remain a live issue and a point of public speculation. Indeed, to stop the speculation and discredit detractors, the government should consider answering in a fulsome way these amazingly simple questions on the minds of Bahamians such
as the quantum of the travel visa fees collected; and have these funds been
applied under the terms and conditions of the contract?

Sincerely,

Michael J. Brown