(Jamaica Gleaner) Embattled Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament, Joseph Hibbert, said he was not contemplating stepping down as Member of Parliament (MP) in the wake of fresh allegations that he received more than £100,000 from British bridge-building company, Mabey and Johnson Limited.
In an interview with The Gleaner on Friday evening, Hibbert noted that while he had no immediate plans to walk away from representational politics, the decision might not necessarily be left up to him.
“At the same time, one has to be careful in politics, the decision is not always yours,” Hibbert said.
“If my party makes a decision, then they will get my response,” Hibbert said, replying to the question of what would be his decision if the JLP pressed him to step aside. However, he was reluctant to say what his response would be at this time.
Vehemently denying allegations of bribery by Mabey and Johnson, the East Rural St Andrew MP said he has been waiting to get a report from England on what was tabled in the lawsuit that was brought against the bridge-building company.
“Part of what they said they have given to me as cash payment, I have never received. Lodgements that they have claimed they have made to my accounts have never been received, these millions they are talking about have never been received. I have no such accounts either in Jamaica or abroad.”
The JLP MP said he could explain the sums he received from Mabey and Johnson.
“We are saying if money was paid over to me there is a proper explanation for it. When I travel to the United Kingdom for whatever reason to inspect your bridges and to make a determination on your ability to respond to a tender process that payment is made by you (Mabey and Johnson).”
“Travelling to England was not done of my own. It was done through the ministry I was part of at that time. I have approvals granted by ministers of government,” he added.
Hibbert insisted that the funds paid by the British firm were not part of a bribery scheme but were paid to cover expenses.
“I have heard the report, we have to wait and see what is being tabled (in UK court) and then I will give a fulsome response to that,” he said.
On Friday, Mabey and Johnson, which had reportedly bribed officials in Jamaica, Ghana and Iraq, was slapped with a five-million pound fine in the United Kingdom’s courts.
The firm had earlier pleaded guilty to the offences, which were committed between 1993 and 2002.
Mabey and Johnson reportedly tried to influence Jamaican and Ghanaian officials when bidding for public contracts.