I often wonder if O’Brian’s operation motto is, “who do we reach? What do we pay?”
One suspects when it comes to cutting a deal the bold Denis may have more than just have a passing acquaintance with *P2P etiquette.
March 2010, a judicial tribunal found that a former minister for communications, Michael Lowry, “secured the winning” of the 1995 mobile phone license competition for Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone. The tribunal also found that O’Brien made two payments to Lowry, in 1996 and 1999, totaling approximately £500,000, and supported a loan of Stg£420,000 given to Lowry in 1999. In his 2,348-page report, Mr. Justice Michael Moriarty found that the payments from O’Brien were “demonstrably referable to the acts and conduct of Mr. Lowry” during the licence process, acts which benefited Esat Digifone. In effect, O’Brien was trading in influence or ‘legal corruption’
The Moriarty Report states that it is ‘beyond doubt’ that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O’Brien that was ‘of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence’.
It states that documentation, which contained ‘sensitive information’, was found in files in the possession of Esat Digifone. The report states it is unable to conclude how the company obtained the information on the weighting matrix adopted by the project group.
The report states that Michael Lowry displayed ‘an appreciable interest’ in the process and had ‘irregular interactions with interested parties’ at what it terms ‘most sensitive stages’.
It also found that Mr. Lowry made his preferences on the leading candidates known.)
Forbes magazine said of O’Brian
“Despite coups, corruption, and kidnappings, Denis O’Brien keeps pouring money into the world’s poorest, most violent countries. His bet: Give phones to the masses and they will fight your enemies for you.
Is it just one of those oddities of life that O’Brian just happens to likes doing business where corruption is endemic?
History would suggest that this is no mere coincidence.
Let us look at how some of the countries that Digicel operates in, and see how they stack up in terms of corruption
This first figure is the ranking position of the country. The number of countries measured is 176
The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). While no country has a perfect score, score below 50, indicate serious corruption problems.
Haiti sits in 165th position, with a corruption index of 19
Papua New Guinea, 150 -25
Guyana, 133- 28
Jamaica 83- 38
Panama, 83- 38
El Salvador 83 – 38
Trinidad & Tobago 80- 39
Possible soon to be added to the Digicel list is Myanmar sitting in 172nd position with a corruption index of 16
O’Brien’s Jamaica-headquartered company, Digicel Group, began offering cheap cell phone service recently from Papua New Guinea. Razor wire and half-dozen guards carrying shotguns and pistols protect the Digicel office in Papua New Guinea.
The murder rate in this Pacific hellhole is one of the highest in the world. Corruption is also rife in PNG
Bermuda-incorporated Digicel was founded in 2001 and has operations in 28 countries in small markets in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific. Its main market is Jamaica where it has about a 75% market share and in June was fined by the regulator for anti-competitive behavior. In May, the Jamaican tax authorities raided its Jamaican offices.
*Pay to play
Tomorrow we will have a look at O’Brian’s good friend President Michel Martelly of Haiti that upstanding man of impeccable honesty
THE estranged parents of a five-year-old boy have gone to court over whether the child should have vaccination shots.
The mother does not want him to have the MMR (which protects against measles, mumps and rubella) and 4-in-1 (diphtheria, whooping cough, polio and tetanus) booster shots – while the father does.
Mr Justice Moriarty has already heard evidence from the mother, who does not want her son to have the vaccinations, and the father, who wants the injections to be given as speedily as possible.
The case comes weeks ahead of a challenge to the outcome of the children’s rights referendum, whose main flashpoint was the test for the amount of state intervention in decisions affecting children.
The courts routinely allow hospitals to provide blood transfusions and life-saving treatment to children contrary to the religious beliefs of their parents, such as those of the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
In this case, the parents hold opposing positions.
The District Court and Circuit Court have already ruled that the inoculations should proceed.
The case was before the High Court as a result of a legal challenge mounted by the mother.
Mr Justice Moriarty said after the child was born in 2007, he was immunised without dispute and no adverse reactions were reported.
The parents’ relationship later broke down.
In February, the child was due to receive the two injections provided for under the HSE programme to children.
The mother had concerns about the substances included in the injections.
An impasse was reached and the District Court ruled that it was in the best interests of the child that the injections go ahead, Mr Justice Moriarty said.
The mother appealed the matter to the Circuit Court where the judge decided the injections were in the child’s best interests.
On the day the vaccination was to be administered, the mother applied to the High Court to be allowed legally challenge the decision.
Mr Justice Moriarty said the father, in evidence, had indicated although he felt strongly his son should have the injections, he would accept a verdict contrary to his wishes without seeking to take matters further.
The judge said he could not “simply furnish some form of snap judgment in favour of or against the injections. I am acutely conscious of the delay factor, and can only give my best assurance to the parties that I will do all possible on my part to expedite a just conclusion”.