Baines issues corruption alert

| 14/09/2011

(CNS): People working in both public and private organisations will have to take a long hard look at how they operate when it comes to the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 (ACL). Although this law came into effect in January 2010, it is only now gaining teeth, Police Commissioner David Baines said Tuesday. Chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the body charged with the oversight and implementation of the ACL, Baines said the law highlighted possible conflicts in how business has been conducted in Cayman. He said it was an offence for those involved in any decision-making as a public entity to engage in private activity for their own personal benefit without declaring such activity.

Speaking at the first formal presentation of the law at a seminar held by the Cayman Islands Compliance Association at the Westin Casuarina Resort, Baines issued his warning.

“This forms an absolute offence under a first reading of the law,” he confirmed, adding that activities and discussions currently taking place around the auditor general’s role and central tendering were highlighting conduct which “needed further explanation” under the ACL.

Individuals who work for government and government bodies, such as the police service, customs and immigration in particular, will have to be very aware of the law, especially when it comes to the misuse of information, Baines said. He added that complaints brought to the commission and their first arrest under the law highlighted the issue of a “widespread abuse and access to confidential information”. He urged the audience to ensure that data controls within their own organisations were adequate as well as the codes of conduct and disciplinary measures in place for people who misuse information.

Baines went on to discuss a particular case whereby one of his own staff members had been arrested for the solicitation of information of another government body (immigration) for personal gain.

The consequences of the arrest and subsequent investigation caused something of a shake-up within Cayman’s law enforcement agencies as people realised “the almost endemic misuse of information” which, Baines said, “is now starting to change as people have clearly understood that if you misuse information you can be arrested and be imprisoned and lose your job.”

The country’s top police officer outlined that under the ACL there have been 26 complaints alleging some form of corruption so far, two of which were found not to contravene the ACL but were referred to other agencies, such as the complaints commissioner, for further investigation, five were investigated and found not to contravene the law, six cases were pending further information, leaving 13 cases still ongoing, with the one arrest.

Baines said the Anti-Corruption Commission, now assisted by one of the government’s senior crown counsel, John Masters, has been conservative in gearing up its operations up until this point because it wanted to ensure that it was fully conversant with the law. As with any new law, he confirmed, especially one drafted from legislation from other jurisdictions, the commission wanted to ensure that appropriate protocols were in place to protect the commission and therefore ensure success in any prosecutions.

As the law has been put into practice and the Anti-Corruption Commission begins to hold regular meetings, various issues have been highlighted, Baines said. Members of the Anti-Corruption Commission generally wore two hats as public officers, namely himself as commissioner of police and other members, which include the complaints commissioner and the auditor general. In particular, he talked about the difficulty in deciding who would take on the lead role within the commission.

Another issue was that the law repeals certain provisions of the Penal Code, which already dealt with corrupt practices. However the ACL is not retrospective, therefore any issues which took place before January 2010 that might have been pursued under the old law are not covered under this new legislation. They can still be looked at under common law, but that was not ideal, Baines said.

Category: Crime

Comments (29)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does giving out turkeys and hams at Christmas count as a bribe? If not, where does the law draw the line?

    • tim ridley says:

      It certainly can constitute an offence, depending on the precise facts. Take a look also at the bribery and treating etc offences in sections 91-104 of the Elections Law. These election offences have been around for quite a while! 

       

      Tim Ridley

  2. Anonymous says:

    So continuing to disguise the proceeds of prior corruption after the passage of the ACL is not an ongoing money laundering offence if you are a politician in a jurisidiction in which the Police Commissioner has a problem with enforcing common law corruption offences that were in effect both before and after the ACL came into effect? Running short on excuses are we?

     

  3. tim ridley says:

    There are many defects in the Anti-Corruption Law (ACL) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). At the appropriate time, the ACL should be amended and the ACC reconstituted. Perhaps, this can occur when the UK next pushes on "good governance"  under the forthcoming White Paper on the UK's relationship with the Overseas Territories. This might also usefully coincide in the run up to the next election. In the meantime, wehave to make do with what we have.

    Four points that we can push on right away are:

    1. There is a welcome focus on crime coming from the Legislative Assembly and Government right now. They should be reminded that 'white collar" crimes such as bribery, corruption and the like can be as corrosive to society as gunning people down. Perhaps even more so in the long run. So our legislators and the Government should ensure that some of the additional funds allocated to the RCPIS are used to bolster the resources of the RCIPS and the ACC to investigate these "white collar" crimes;

    2. It takes two to tango. The private sector needs to step up to the plate and understand that businesses and individuals should simply 'say no to bribes" in all their forms (and the offences under the ACL are very, very broad). That means neither offering them nor agreeing to pay them to anyone, period.

    3. The ACL requires that a person who is asked to pay a bribe and also that a person to whom a bribe is offered must report this to the ACC. And it is an offence not to so report. This is a powerful deterrent to those who would behave otherwise.

    4. The level of ignorance about the ACL in both the Government and the private sector is huge and concerning. As a matter of urgency, the Government needs to undertake a training programme for all civil servants, statutory authorities and boards and legislators. The private sector needs to do likewise for local businesses and the community as a whole.

     

    Tim Ridley

    • Anonymous says:

      So our legislators and the Government should ensure that some of the additional funds allocated to the RCPIS are used to bolster the resources of the RCIPS and the ACC to investigate these "white collar" crimes.

      You have to admire the sense of humour that was required to suggest this.

    • Anonymous says:

      What an indictment of our leadership, that they should be invited to undertake training programmes to learn how to conduct their affairs in honest ways. Is this where we are? Adults learning to develop  consciences they should have formed by the age of seven?

      There is a cartoon that perfectly sums up the problem. The son says to his father," Dad I'm considering a career in organized crime," to which his father replies, "public, or private sector?"

  4. Yo Mamma says:

    At least two-thirds of our present and past politicians could/should be charged for corruption, and everyone knows that.

     

    But something tells me that ten years from now we still won't see a single one of them behind bars at Northward.

     

    Listen up, young Caymanians, and learn the lesson I'm telling unna. Don't be stupid. Don't dress like American rappers, hide guns in your clown pants, and rob banks.

     

    No, no. You must do like our leaders do. Wear a tie, get elected, and then rob the entire country blind. You will make much more money, wreak much more social havoc, and–best of all–you will never spend a day in jail.

     

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why don't i have any confidence in what the Commissioner says?

    Why is it that an investigation into the Premier is being conducted by local law enforcement persons who are having difficulty solving everyday crime?

    Why is is that in the past when the top cop did not do their job effectively they were replaced but this one continues to give our society no confidence but continues on?

    I just want to know why????? 

  6. Anonymous says:

    OK, so it's not a conflict of interest to be the Police Commissioner and the chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission??

  7. Anonymous says:

    Until someone is actually convicted it will be regarded as a joke and nothing more locally, something for the foreign press.

    • Anonymous says:

      has anybody here ever been convicted of anything?  really, I would like to know.

  8. Anonymous says:

    "However the ACL is not retrospective, therefore any issues which took place before January 2010 that might have been pursued under the old law are not covered under this new legislation. They can still be looked at under common law, but that was not ideal, Baines said."

    Does this mean the RCISP investigation into the Premier has just been downsized to a alert?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I doubt the RCIPS has anything like enough experienced officers to deal with this and foresee 'Tempura II' being set up, if it isn't already undet way. 

  10. dartanian says:

    Congrats mr. Baines, I wonder if the CC heard the Politician who is the lead negotiator in the "For Cayman Alliance admit on Rooster that he and a fellow member of the LA had a conflict in that they both worked for Dart in other capacities.

    When will they be arrested. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    Only when the offenders are prosecuted and given stiff sentencing will we see a decrease in the rampant conflicts of interest that arenow taking place.

     

    I hope that removal of their personal assets which were attained as a consequence of their corruption and conflicts of interest are part of the penalty. We have to stop rewarding bad behavior.

    • noname says:

      Thats called justice and it won't be happening anytime soon in Cayman.  The corruption is too widespread, too deep, and backed by too many who are responsible for the law.  You will stop rewarding bad behavior when the people of cayman finally grow a pair and demand a good leadership instead of tolerating an idiot.  Does anyone see that happening any time soon?

  12. Anonymous says:

    …umm, do I understand that Mac was supposed to declare that his Ritz Carlton unit(s) would go up in value if Ryan bought the freehold BEFORE he invited the Government to decide on whether a sale should take place? Who are the realtor’s and how did he get the condo(s) anyway?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, the ACL repealed Penal Code but is not retractive so, everyone gets their slate wiped clean again when ACL came in….

      • Anonymous says:

        But what if the wiping clean of the slate (which does not in my view exist) was done corruptly? …and the approach was this week anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not entirely correct. They may still be caught by common law offended but as the PC said that is not ideal.

    • Anonymous says:

      that's none of your business!

  13. Anonymous says:

    congradulations, long overdue.

    now inforcement is the key, spare no one

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a very good la , I wonder just how many people will be allowed to serve on board where they have business interest.

  15. Anonymous says:

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  no more gift packages??????????????????

  16. Gyyupa says:

    Do freebie private jet flights from companies making profits from government loans count? If so we could get rid of all of the cronies in one go!