Auditor revisits Gasboy-gate

| 29/05/2012

File-photo-of-petrol-drip-005.jpg(CNS): The auditor general will be publishing an updated report next week relating to the abuse of government’s Gasboy fuel card system. Alastair Swarbrick has revisited government departments to see what recommendations have been adopted and looked at new case studies to see if better practices are now in place to avoid the risk of misuse of public funds. In the original report Dan Duguay, the previous auditor general, found that some $500,000 could have been fraudulently obtained from government's fuel station in North Sound as almost a third of the transactions reviewed were suspicious. Swarbrick will be revealing the latest findings on Tuesday 5 June, when he will officially release the report which is currently under wraps.

In the first report the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) blew the lid on the potential fraud, which was facilitated by the failure of checks and balances in the card system being used by government employees. With little or no control over the system, Duguay said it had been severely abused, causing significant loss to the government purse. The original audit revealed that a significant number of the cards issued to civil servants to gain access to fuel were being held by people who had even resigned from government.

The potential fraud and abuse of public money came to the attention of the government’s own Internal Audit Unit within the Treasury Department which had examined the five biggest users of government's fuel depot, one of which is the RCIPS. However, this report was not made public until Duguay and his team took up the issue. Duguay said that when he examined this report he found that practically every control in place to monitor usage has been circumvented or inadequately controlled.

The fuel management system used at the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services is a GASBOY card, which is issued to workers who need to fuel up public vehicles. The audit found that there were 1,600 cards in use at the time or one card for every person working in the public sector. Cards that were active were issued to people who had resigned and there were more than 100 incidences of two or more cards being issued to the same employee.

Management had lost control over who was using the cards and when, Duguay said at the time of the report. "The issue of fuel card distribution indicates a total lack of control and responsibility," Duguay said when he published the controversial report. He pointed to several red flags for that fraud, including multiple transactions on a given card in the space of one hour, as well as purchases on vehicle cards that were in excess of a vehicle's fuel capacity.

Public Works, the National Roads Authority, Environmental Health, Water Authority and the police were the biggest users, accounting for almost three quarters of the fuel consumed by government. At the time Duguay recommended that government take drastic steps to stop this potential for abuse and the current auditor general’s team has revisited these and other agencies in its update to find out what has been done.

During the Public Accounts Committee hearing that took place to examine Duguay’s report many of the witnesses representing the government departments denied the suggestion of fraud or misuse.

Police Commissioner David Baines, however, admitted that a criminal investigation was on-going regarding the abuse of the fuel cards while denying that there was significant abuse by RCIPS officers. He told the committee in May 2010 that detectives were following up on transactions made on one card in particular, but the police boss suggested the problem was poor management of the system and not that fuel had been obtained fraudulently.

Nevertheless, Baines conceded that he did not have enough officers to investigate the numerous transactions that were considered suspicious and no update has been supplied to the public regarding the investigation.

See original report below and be sure to check CNS next Tuesday for the auditor general’s latest findings.

Category: Local News

Comments (77)

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  1. Kosher Nostra says:

    Can I have a Gas card please?  Or even better can I borrow yours?  I want to go fishing for the holiday weekend.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yep, I know a woman that has one of these cards and uses it to fill her personal vehicle.  It was given to her by her boss who she is EXTREMELY close to!

  3. Anonymous says:

    How people, who go to churh everyday Sunday and call themselves christians or whatever their religions is have no problems with stealing? Or iit is not stealing in their minds, but caymanian mentality- I am entitled to it? No watchdogs, police, auditors  will stop it if this mentality don't change.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      How would you know that these robberies are being committed by people who go to church every Sunday and call themselves Christians? These sorts of bigoted comments are very unhelpful.

  4. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    This isn't a sophisticated theft because the Gas Cards in fact were handed out like party favors. But what it points to more profoundly is a culture of entitlement ie. "If you work for government you can and should milk it for everything you can."  This mentality is pervasive throughout the CS. As civil servants unless they don't read are aware of the "double dipping" of members of the Legislature and business deals on the side if they can do it -why not me? The irony of all this is what they may not be aware of is the fact that government has underfunded their future pensions and health care to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. So what we are left with is the justification of people ripping off someone who is ripping them off. That will be hard to fix. Without starting over. And you can't do that because the CS forms the largest voting bloc on the island.

  5. Whodatis says:

    This auditor general is really on the ball – good stuff!

    A thief, is a thief, is a thief – as the old folks say.

    Keep it up buddy. However, if you are eventually shipped off island (as rumored to be the fate of your predecessor) you shouldn't worry, for in contrast to our relatively significant $500k, there is an absolute goldmine of an annual £38 BILLION in fraudulently acquired public funds for you to track down in the UK.

    Hopefully, at a minimum, we will see some naming and shaming of the local offenders.

    Absolutely disgraceful, however also very commonplace behaviour of governments and civil servants the world over.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You love to stick your finger into the eye of the UK every chance you get don't you?

       

      • Whodatis says:

        It may appear that way to the casual on-looker, however, there is a reason behind my constant referral to the 'supreme power' of the Cayman Islands.

        We have seen what has taken place in other countries that share our relationship with that 'supreme power', however, the ignorance surrounding the actual reality within that entity is hardly or never addressed.

        In fact, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of readers are unaware, wilfully or otherwise, of most of the points that are raised.

        Interestingly, the collective verdict in respect to those issues tends to greatly contrast with the verdict on our domestic issues.

        In my opinon, such information is inherently relevant to our situation, therefore should play a role in how we assess both our country and whatever future action may come our way via said 'supreme power'.

        In a nutshell – its all about context.

        I trust the above was of some help to you.

        P.S. Did you think I randomly selected the UK as the target of my observations?

        When I start referring to the political and economic reality of Kazakhstan then you should begin to worry.

        ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anonymous says:

      This could almost be perceived as threatening.

      • Whodatis says:

        Only by he who wishes it to be or is attempting to stir up some 'CNS drama'.

        Which is it?

        • Anonymous says:

          Whodatis accusing someone else of attempting to stir up "CNS dram"???  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    • Anonymous says:

      i feel sorry for you….. in your world….. 2 wrongs make a right……..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can we make the AG the Premier? And head of the ACC? and the RCIPS? And Cinico? He seems to be doing a fine job despite the cess pool that is the Cayman public sector. Good work man.

  7. Truth says:

    "Total lack of control and responsibility."  The elephant in the room.

  8. Homer Simpson says:

    No doubt these very same people will be the ones getting the free fridges and their mortgages paid off.

    Sick to my stomach.

  9. Dan Duguay says:

    I am really looking forward to this follow up. As many will recall, I was heavily criticized by senior officials when I brought this issue forward. I hope that this report will provide additional information on this issue and that action has been taken to reduce the misuse of fuel that the original audit found.

    Congratulations to the current Auditor General and his staff for following up on this important issue. I am glad to see that they are continuing to be a positive force in encouraging accountability in government

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Nice to hear from you Dan. Hope you and yours are doing well!

      We miss you but we are pleased that the new AG isn't scared either

      xo

      • Dan Duguay says:

        Thanks for the kind words. My wife Susan and iare doing well. We still keep up with news of the Cayman Islands and have been back a few times for visits. We both still hold the Islands near to our hearts and wish everyone there well.

        • Anonymous says:

          You and our current AG are heroes, in my book.  We need more people like the both of you – forthright, professional in the execution of your duties, ethical, and with the islands' best interests always in the forefront.   Would be nice if our politicians were more like the both of you, now wouldn't that be something?

          • Anonymous says:

            Some are. In fact they are so forthright that some people don't want to hear what they have to say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said Dan, when this scandal broke I spoke with the talk radio hosts about possible prosecution and they both agreed nothing would be done and it would be swept beneath the carpet.

      What message does that send the community?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dan, were there not secret CCTV tapes made of the goings on at the gas pumps which captured the activities of the perpetrators? That was certainly the rumors at PWD at the time.

      • Dan Duguay says:

        I certainly wasn’t aware of any CCTV cameras at the time. If we knew about then, we certainly would have reviewed the. Cameras would be a good part of a deterrent strategy. However, it would be even cheaper not to have duplicate cards, etc. In the first place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its comforting to know you are still "on the job" Dan. 

       

       

  10. Truth says:

    The problem with Cayman is its full of……………criminals.

    • Whodatis says:

      I think you will find that this is the "problem" with every country.

      • Anonymous says:

        The "problem"?  Why the quotation marks?

        • Whodatis says:

          "In English writing, quotation marks or inverted commas (informally referred to as quotes or speech marks)[1] are punctuation marks surrounding a quotation, direct speech, or a literal title or name. Quotation marks can also be used to indicate a different meaning of a word or phrase than the one typically associated with it and are often used to express irony."

          Hope this helps, poster.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, not really.  Thank you for pasting though.   I appreciate your willingness to educate lesser beings.

            I am still not sure why you used quotation marks around the word "problem".   

      • Anonymous says:

        You're really pitiful Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Its called Caymanian Rights. In the past, it used to be called Privateers.

      • jsftbhaedrg says:

        Pirate modus operandi 101. Remember back in the day when they used to trick passing ships into thinking there was a channel for them to pass through when in fact what they were doing was setting them up to wreck on the reef, they would then go out on their boats and pillage. Not much change some 300+yrs later.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why not hire a collection agency to go after the cheaters – pay them a per centage of what they recover? Then we could do the same thing with the politicians.

    • Bling man says:

      It be stealin.  If na pay back, go to jail.  Should go jail any way.

  12. John Evans says:

    Hopefully, the next one of Dan Duguay's investigations to be revisited by Mr Swarbrick's team will be the March 2009 audit of Operation Tempura/Cealt.

    That orginal audit was fatally compromised by what now appears to have been deliberate withholding of information, particularly in relation to the employment of private contractors to replace serving Met officers as reported in sections 8 and 9. Thanks to FOI it is now clear that there is a huge difference between what actually happened and what was declared to the audit.

    That report also only covered the period up to 31 January 2009 but Cealt lumbered on for more than anotheryear without producing any tangible results.

    These 'investigations' cost the people of the Cayman Islands a very large amount of money. Apart from the direct costs and the various settlements, there are other factors like the disruption of RCIPS operations over a nearly two-year period probably making the total loss in excess of CI$20million and that money needs to be accounted for.

     

    • Whodatis says:

      Now, now Mr. Evans,

      Tread carefully sir!

      Do you fully understand the implications of your words?

      For some folks certain entities are beyond criticism or reproach.

      ๐Ÿ™‚

      *If your calculations are correct then what is taking place between us and "them" is very interesting indeed.

      A swift reimbursement could quite possibly square all the circles, in more ways than one, and everyone could ride off happily into the sunset … not counting on it though.

    • Cassandra says:

      We will reap the fruits of this investigation in due course.

    • Anonymous says:

      You may not like to hear it, but it cost the UK taxpayer a pretty sum too. Can we have our money back please?

  13. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for the the cayman island civil service!

  14. Anonymous says:

    We would also like for him to investigate the Paloma funds too. His salary is a check much earned, scared of no one, and not interested if he will be here for the long haul or not. Way to go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Paloma Funds…Hurricane Funds…lots of hinkiness going on.  Quite a few of those Government loans aren't being paid either.  What I found the most disgusting is the funds were disbursed without even showing that the people needed it.  Some people got the special govt loan and instead of rebuilding their houses, drank it out.  Others didn't even lose anything and bought flat screen t.v.s, new cars, etc.  Let us not forget the ones with house insurance that then got these same loans as well.

      Those people should be sued for defrauding the govt just like all the businesses should pay for those parking lots.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Declare an amnesty. Fear of being found out can develop a conscience in anyone. Start by investigating those who don't pay back anything and get around to those who did in due course. If they paid back a reasonable amount, a formal warning should suffice. Those who come up short should face serious consequences.

    • Huh? says:

      If thye pay back a reasoable amount?  So I can take your property, and as long as I pay you a reasonable proportion of its value thats ok? 

    • Anonymous says:

      That's a really good idea

    • Anonymous says:

      A fund should be set up for those who might have experienced guilt at stealing gas from the government. Then a petition to have these investigations halted immediately and name Ezzard king of Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not investigate each one and deduct the amount stolen from their pension? Might help with the massive shortfall those funds are facing.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Throw them all in jail

  17. Anonymous says:

    The solution to this problem is very simple.

     

    Fire the auditor general.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear…where did I put that Gasboy gate card thing ma jiggy?

  19. Anonymous says:

    This stealing of fuel goes along with other benefit frauds like double-claiming from insurance companies (spouse working for our giver-ment and other spouse on other coverage); people that have friends and family working in customs bringing in significant amounts of goods duty free to retail out their backdoors. Unfortunately if the checks are not in place and the penalties are so menial for the crime this abuse Will just continue. Auditor general needs to fix the expense, travel,fuel and medical claim policies to standards acceptable in real world as soon as possible to cut the abuse. Put in place, clear message of criminal record, fines and instant termination for breaching policy, as well as for those that knowingly assisting with breach/abuse. May be difficult to do as i suspect the benefits fraud is rotten right to the core with top civil servants Paving the way (right up to their front door!) and junior staff just following their leaders. Unfortunately theft like this ends up costing the common cayman residents in the long run as we’ll be hit with some ridiculous fuel surcharge, insurance premiums, custom duties to help fund the free fuel,flights, etc that civil servants take take take.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Are you seriously telling me that not one single person has been arreted and charged over this?  Pathetic

    • Anonymous says:

      of course, there is no such thing as accountability in the cayman islands government and civil serivice…….just another day in wonderland…..

  21. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to see a graph of fuel consumption from the government pumps. I think that the clamp down is working. There are fewer people driving around aimlessly and there are fewer boats burning thousands of dollars of "free" gas running around North Sound.

  22. Special Needs Donkey says:

    "Nevertheless, Baines conceded that he did not have enough officers to investigate the numerous transactions that were considered suspicious and no update has been supplied to the public regarding the investigation."

    Perhaps the Auditor General should inwestigate the RCIP to see what has happened to the additional $10,000,000 that they got this year. Seriously, how can it cost more than $60,000,000 pa to police a community of less than 60,000???

    • Anonymous says:

      because the police farce, like the rest of the civil service, is a glorified social welfare scheme for caymanians……

      • Anonymous9 says:

        Except that all of the police force are not Caymanians…

        Simmer down now

      • Anonymous says:

        Why "for Caymanians"? -Plus everyone and his helper is a Caymanian these days

        • Anonymous says:

          By definition, everyone and his helper IS ALREADY A CAYMANIAN, where do you think you come from?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please tell me that your figure of $60 million per year for the police is wrong!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      How? Over powered cars they do not need or are not qualified to drive, ridiculous boats and wave runners that never see the water, let alone the cost of gas when they do and incompetent staff who are unproductive and seemingly unaccountable.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The uncovering of the original fraud by civil servants by Mr. Duguay is plain and simple stealing..stealing from the Cayman governments finances…stealing from their employer, to be cast in another light. Anywhere else in the world the offenders would be prosecuted and lose their jobs, but here it seems it is  [another] Civil Servant birthright ( in this instance), as the Police Commissioner has conventently illustrated his reluctance to fully investigate the matter,thereby giving the offenders a pardon from the investigation. If the rest of us drove out of any Texaco or Esso without paying for $5.00 of fuel, we would be arrested and jailed.It's just another example of the duality of the social disparity that exists in Cayman. Of course, nothing will ever come of this investigation.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 100% but here is where the problem comes in.  Those government workers will wind up with a police record then they can't get employed again (that will be the excuse given anyway), the private sector will get blamed for not hiring Caymanians, because with all due respect we really don't want thieves working for us (yes I am a Caymanian) and a viscious circle ensues.  There must be a way to require that anyone caught be charged, fined 1.5 times the amount they stole in today's dollars and then also required to contribute their time to community service at the same dollar value (with their work valued at $5.00 per hour even for top officials) and then that would remove the charges if they completed all aspects.  I do not condone this criminal behavior at all but it is so wide spread and if all are convicted and lose their jobs then the private sector will take the hit once again and once again we will be blamed for Cayman's unemployment!

      • Anonymous says:

        The simple fact is that the civil service is far too large for such a small country. It is a monster that is out of control and needs a complete over haul with several departments being out sourced to raise competitiveness in the market and value for money for the tax payer. Another fact worthy of attention is that it is already near impossible to fire a civil servant, especially if they are Caymanian. There are many departments that have far too many hangers on, people who know they can't be got rid of and don't care about public service anyway. The UK has a Civil Service Code for all employees, it enforcesa code of discipline and employment rights and allows for disciplinary measures to be taken against those who don't conform. If Cayman has such a code, why isn't it enforced, if they don't why not?

        The excuse that if a Caymanian is fired for dishonesty or a breach of public service rules they are at a disadvantage in the workplace doesn't wash any more. They are responsible for their actions and they have to learn, as do the rest of the Caymanian people, that actions have consequences. If you steal, you are a thief, period. If you don't want to lose your job and your reputation, don't steal. 

        Caymanians have a reputation for believing they are above reproach on 'their island', the truth is that no one should be above the law and all should be answerable, especially if they are paid from the public purse. This self centred culture of entitlement needs to be tackled first, then those who believe they can act with impunity must be punished to the full extent of the law, with NO EXCEPTIONS.

    • Gwana Wukh says:

      Weh you gettin' $5 fuel?  Las' I chek it nearly $6!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    "Nevertheless, Baines conceded that he did not have enough officers to investigate the numerous transactions that were considered suspicious and no update has been supplied to the public regarding the investigation."

    Send me the records and I'll do it for free! It will be a pleasure. No?  Didn't think so.

    Basically the entire civil service have beencaught red-handed stealing public money and the police are saying "meh….we've got other stuff to do".  XXXX

    Businesses are completely ignoring the pension laws without fear of prosecution.

    Money for public roads has been used to pave certain individuals private driveways and carparks. No sign of a police investigation.

    CINICO has been thoroughly ripped off and abused will millions gone missing in a structure that was deliberately set up to conceal theft.  Cops not interested.

    Missing people, unsolved murders, unsolved robberies, gangs and drugs out of control.  Drink driving rampant, speeding, racing and complete ignorance of the road rules are rife and the cops do nothing.

    Unbelievable.

    • Plumbago says:

      Does the Chief of Police have the authority to decide which crime he will investigate – I though that he was duty bound to investigate all crimes happening on this island.  Maybe he should start pulling some all nighters until he can get a handle on this investigation as well as other investigations lurking in the background.   However I do not think that all civil servants are guilty of this- I know for sure that my children who are civil servants would not stoop so low.   i know that they pay for their petrol themselves, and has no gasboy card  nor do they drive government vehicles.  While we are "cussing" civil servants though,  please do not for one moment think that they are the only ones involved in dishonesty.  I know doctors and dentists who jack up the prices all the time and over bill because the insurance companies are covering most of the bill, and of course we all know about the insurance companies- they have us down at the pauper level on this island.  Imaging paying premiums of over CI$3,000 on a modest house of 1500 sq. ft.!!  Some of these people open up an business and expect to get rich overnight and of course they all collude together so it is very difficult to shop around.  They will rather go out of business that lower the prices a little.   HONESTY IS STILL THE BEST POLICY!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    It WAS fraudulent acquisition of fuel (the top cop has his helmet up his a$$) and Duguay knew it. He first got on to it just after Ivan when he discovered that "favored" people XXXX were abusing the system massively and when he investigated he got intense opposition and the usual anti-expat abuse stuff. Go for it Swarbrick.

    • Anonymous says:

      This new bloke's goin' for it, that's for sure.

      My impression is that he's here to do a job and interested in impressing no one.

      Perfect – please carry on, Sir.