ACU struggles with caseload

| 30/06/2014

(CNS): With 23 live cases and only two officers, the Anti-Corruption Unit is struggling to deal with its growing workload. Since the formation of the unit, which is directed by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the ACU has opened over 100 investigations based on allegations against police, customs and immigration staff, government officials, members of the Legislative Assembly and government boards. However, the officersare struggling to investigate what are described as complex cases due to a lack of resources and in at least five cases where the officers believed the evidence was suffice to mount a case the director of public prosecutions (DPP) has refused to charge the suspects.

With a budget of just over $260,000, the two officers are borrowing resources from the RCIPS to try and keep up with their mounting case load. With 23 live investigations, two of which are currently awaiting a decision from the DPP, the officers are pushed beyond the ability of two people and the commission is pressing for an increase in resources.

“The allocated funds do not meet the needs of the Anti-Corruption Commission,” said Deborah Bodden, who heads up the secretariat for all of the commissions relating to the constitution as well as the ACC and its unit. She said the budget prevents her from hiring more investigators when the ideal size should be at least six, given the workload. 

“The majority of the cases the unit are working on or have worked on are complex and as a result the lack of staff often hinders the unit’s ability to manage cases in a timely manner and to thoroughly exhaust all avenues in each investigation. It would be useful for the unit to consist of a minimum of six investigators,” Bodden added.

According to statistics released by the Commissions Secretariat, 77 cases reported to the commission and the unit were closed without a file being submitted to the office of the director of public prosecutions because the two officers were unable to gather enough evidence to support an offence or to say with certainty that what took place was a crime under the law. Several others were transferred to other police departments or the allegations were related to incidents that took place before the law was implemented.

The commission revealed that these closed investigations involve myriad allegations against law enforcement agencies and government officials. The accusations included 24 involving police, 22 against government staff, 13 allegations against MLAs, five against government board directors, five against immigration officers, three customs officials, two election abuse allegations, one against prison staff and one against members of the judiciary.

Where the unit submitted files to the DPP, only one case involving a police officer made it to trial under the anti-corruption law.

Former PC Elvis Ebanks was convicted last month under the law for soliciting a bribe and is expected to be sentenced next week. Patricia Webster was originally charged with anti-corruption offences when she released confidential information but these were later altered to common law offences. She received probation as it was evident the police staffer received no benefit and there had been no criminal intent.

Edlin Myles, who was convicted of seven counts of deception last week, had also been arrested under the anti-corruption law but the DPP changed the charges to penal code offences as there were concerns that his status as a member of a non-profit making government board did not constitute a public official.

Finally, allegations against the former premier, McKeeva Bush, which are due to be tried on 8 September, include both common law and anti-corruption offences. Bush is also understood to be the subject of other as yet to be concluded corruption probes, while others have been closed.

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Category: Crime

Comments (39)

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  1. Diogenes says:

    I think the Premier needs to form a committee to commission an independent report from a consultant that can be rewritten by a Chief Officer and then not released.    

  2. Mark Hennings says:

    Why can't people volunteer to help with this unit?

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      We tried to volunteer to help with FCU a few years back – trained investigatory staff, willing to become special constables, costs paid by their employer.  Refused.  

  3. Eyes Wide Shut says:

    Wake up people! This government are like the last they cannot afford for the truth to come to light. Too much corrupt practices and croynism going on but it's how Cayman survives. The only thing worst than the political corruption is the dirt that goes on in the highest levels of civil service and lodge where they look out for the members of the old boys club. It is no accident that the ACU have not been given resources to investigate matters when everybody is keeping the next persons secrets and the code of silence is rewarded. Cayman does not want change just the perception of it so long as the right type of people are in control and the natives are contained it will always be business as usual.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well I voted my wife out of Job. And it was done over the phone! No face to face or by letter. And I quote ” Thank you Mrs. ……. For your services your contract is not renewed”. How professional is that ? Yes she is Caymanian after working for 16 years. Up to 2013 she received a recommondation letter tjob letter) stating she has been working for Gvt since 1998 and further more her last assesment was perfect 100% good on the job. They don’t want to pay her serance pay and all the stessed it caused here. Thank you for Hon. Al Suckoo to help at least to get them to set an appointment or returned her calls( the appointment turned to be a phone call) thank you Mr Anthony also your a Good man. I first went to G.T office and went to an MLA there and he never even call back.So Mr. Premier get your MLA’s in order as the one’s are doing in Bodden Town district I am very disapointed with the PPM and I too swalled hook, line and sinker on promises made. Now I have to live with the fact that I voted my wife out of a job ! Start cuttin those whom you know makes a lot of money and do Not Perfom. You might see me on T.V soon.

  5. UHUHUH says:

     Will someone in authority please answer these questions!                                                                

    1. Does the position of DPP have immunity from disciplinary action?  

    2. Can a DPP not be removed from office for constantly bringing  cases before the Courts that are thrown out  for lack of proper evidence?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      The DPP must always be free to make own decisions as per Constitution, but there needs to be a review board that can look into matters so as there can be checks and baalnces in the system. When any person or entity is left unchecked corrruption is bound to creep in.

  6. Gran Heffe says:

    The Public has no faith in the DPP office – Why are the elected officials (MLA's) not saying a word on this DPP's inabilities and inefficiences? We should hold their hand to the fire for that office's short commings as they seem not to give a hoot!

    And anyone who is surprised by the legal technicality of the law in question one should remember it was written by our antique Attorney General – need i say more?

    PPM Step up or be shown out next election – as i intend to come to all of your pre election meetings and townhalls with my notes in hand and i for one will voice my opinions and you will be put on the spot! This shin-dig has gone on long enough while you all sit quiet, this was not what i expected when i supported you all!

    • Anonymous says:

      There needs to be an oversight body for the DPP. Good governance demands it. No single entity or person should be above the law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As a retired police officer, I'd volunteer to assist them fr free if they so desire.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Try.  See how far you get.  There is a reason the unit has been staffed at such ridiculously low levels, and they prosecute counter clerks for trivial offences.  

  8. Anonymous says:

    Window dressing…

  9. Anonymous says:

    The reaction to the Myles conviction, and the widespread online support for a crooked corruptbottom feeder, shows how widespread and acceptable corruption is in Cayman and the challenges facing the ACU.

    • Anonymous says:

      The crooked corrupt bottom feeder will have his day in court soon, hopefully there will be convictions for many misdeeds that will stick the man in Northward and out of circulation for a long time.

    • Anonymous says:

      They always appeal don't they?  Lawyers should get paid on successful appeals.  Bet there would be less appeals then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Get caught. Denial. Conviction. Appeal.  Conviction upheld. Find god.  It is like a broken record with these people.  The only variation is when the god card gets played.

      • bearbaiter says:

        No, there wouldn't be less appeals – but there might well be fewer!

    • Whodatis says:

      Is it anyway similar to the widespread support forthe bottom feeder, war criminal of say … ex Prime Minister Tony Blair in his country?

      Cayman corruption enriches individuals to the tune of $600.

      Official No.10 British corruption KILLS innocent men, women and children via lies and illegal invasions to the tune of 600,000.

      Yes, two wrongs never make a right but … damn?!

      I'm just saying …

      • Anonymous says:

        No, you're not just saying… You're purposely trying to deflect the impact of the last post by pointing an exaggerated finger somewhere else. 

        Let's just say you're right. So what? The Cayman Islands' society is still far too accepting and forgiving of widespread corruption. That's the point of the last point.  Either argue for or against it, but don't change the subject.

        • Whodatis says:

          Lol!

          If I had to choose between the "impacts" of Cayman corruption versus that of many other countries – I know where I would lean.

          At no point did I dismiss or ignore evidence of corruption in the Cayman Islands.

          Furthermore, my post was inspired by the over-reaching remark of "widespread online support for a crooked corrupt bottom feeder". When you go there you're indicting an entire community of people and taking things much too far – and some perspective was sorely missing from the discussion.

          I'm happy to see that a few balloons where rightly bursted though. Have you noticed as well?

          😉

           

           

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don't you make a complaint to the ACU about Tony Blair then?  

        • Whodatis says:

          What for?

          If British society is accepting of corruption to the levels where a corrupt war criminal is allowed to be their Prime Minister – who is lil' ol' Caymanian Whodatis to intervene?

           

      • Anonymous says:

        I wish someone would give WHODATIS a program so he could track the thread of these conversations.

        We are talking about Cayman systemic corruption here.

        Please try to follow along.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        You seriously think that corrupt Caymanians only make $600?  Have some pride in our fellow countryment – some of them are far nore successful than that.  

      • Diogenes says:

        Widespread support for Blair in the UK? Do you get out much?  Try Googling Blair on even a left wing paper like the Guardian, and tell me the first 20 hits demonstrate support.  

        • Whodatis says:

          Has he been arrested and put on trial in the UK for his gross corruption and war crimes?

          No.

          At least we penalize our corrupted individuals … for even a mere $600 as evidenced in this particular case.

          Meanwhile Tony "Oil Chairman" Blair is busy buying up luxury property all over the UK – signing the papers with hands stained by the blood of 600,000.

          Give me a break.

  10. The Parliamentarian says:

    You don't need more money.   You need a new director of public prosecutions (DPP)!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Down gradethe salary/post of the DDP and use the money to hire another employee.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      This article seems to denigrate  and soil the DPPs role. The DPP should make a statement on this alledged refusal to carry cases forward

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ah that old trick! Form an anti corruption unit to keep the peasants happy, then underfund it and bury it with work so the crooks get away with it, again…cut the gas boy cards and you could probably fund another 5 people in this very important unit!

  12. Anon says:

    This is very disheartening, to say the least. Would the ACU be willing to have volunteers who have a legal background assist with some of the work? I'm a young Caymanian, with an Honours law degree, and would be more than happy to help where possible.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Surprise, surprise! Sounds like there's absolutely no intention of letting the law be implemented here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let's just increase the size of the civil service as we do everytime we come up with some "new initiative" that is so good for transparency and good governance blah blah.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, 9:57, and blame it on some law we don't like because it makes our civil servants work harder and be accountable.