McLean comes clean on C/C

| 27/08/2014

(CNS): The independent member for East End has admitted using his government credit card when he was a minister for personal reasons. However, Arden McLean told CNS that on the few occasions it happened it was done so inadvertently and each time he paid back the full sum to the card company within the monthly bill cycle so tax-payers were never subjected to interest or late fees as a result of his shopping. He said the watch from Kirk’s was a Christmas gift for his wife and McLean said it was not until after the fact that he realized he had used his government card rather than his own. He then wrote a cheque to cover the US$3,500 purchase on the very same day that the bill arrived.

With questionable use of government credit cards by ministers and senior officials dominating the headlines just weeks before former premier McKeeva Bush’s trial next month following criminal charges laid against him in 2013 over his use of a government card, McLean said he had been exceptionally reluctant to discuss his own purchases.

The former PPM Cabinet minister, who defected from the party two years ago and was re-elected in 2013 as an independent member for East End, said he had the documented evidence that he had paid back all personal purchases immediately after charging them (posted below), including a shopping trip and an extra night at a hotel which he had added to a business trip.

“I have made it clear that I have proof that I have repaid any charges which were for my personal benefit which I had made inadvertently or otherwise,” he said. “I was concerned about the impact that all of this may have on the pending prosecution of the former premier. I simply didn’t want to be dragged into any commentary that might be seen to hurt, assist or otherwise impact the matter,” McLean said in a statement released Tuesday, as he explained his previous reluctance to speak out about the use of his card.

The details of McLean’s purchases were revealed in selected credit card documents released to an undisclosed FOI requester and then forwarded to CNS and other media outlets by readers.

Since then CNS has made a full request for the statements of all government credit cards issues to every single government entity and their staff and so far 41 of the more than 80 government authorities have responded. Many of them have never had a credit card issued by government but for those that do many are now in the process of taking their full 30 days to respond, as appears to be the normal practice of information managers in many government entities even when the documents are sitting on their desk.

However, some have responded as a result, they said, of other requests made previously but they have redacted every single payment. The information managers have said the redaction is blamed on advice given by the legal department, even though the vast majority of information on these cards used by chief officers and ministers has nothing at all to do with the forthcoming trial of McKeeva Bush. However, in each case CNS has request an internal review of the redactions as, for example, purchases made by a chief officer in a ministry before Bush was even premier could not possibly be related to his proceedings.

The only entity to release all of its credit card statements in full to CNS to date has been the Information Commissioner’s Office, which does not believe that statements issued to members of staff and ministers other than Bush should be impacted by the forthcoming court case.

The documents demonstrating McLean’s purchases and repayment to the government cards and his statement on the issue are attached below.

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Category: Politics

Comments (91)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It appears that we are electing individuals that can not manage their personal finances, credit cards etc.  How the heck do we expect them to manage the countries?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is the watch still working?

  3. Anonymous says:

      Leave Mr McLean alone!  Its easy to confuse a Scotiabank card with an RBC one.  One may be red and the other one blue, but they are the same size and both are issued by Canadian banks.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    Funny how Cayman politicians seem to have a mental block when it comes round to being aware of what card they are handing over. I mean, not just on the rare occasion but repeatedly. Now, in a darkened casino, anxious to get back into the game, but a bit short on cash, I can understand. But in a brightly lit store? Come off it, pal. And the way a former minister portrayed himself as almost "a victim" as a result of repeatedly handing over "the wrong" card was hilarious.. His description of the manner in which he resolved the matter – he cast the damn thing into his briefcase, apparently –  was almost Shakespearian : "Begone, you cursed thing, you bringer of woe, you temptress!" ???

    • Check Please! says:

      ROFLOL! Good stuff. – ‘There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s GovernmentCard.’

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here's a no brainer for the rules governing the use of a government credit card :

    1. This card is ONLY for use by the holder for official government services and/or goods. It is NOT to be used for personal services and/or goods.

    Now I wonder why this was never done?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'd bet my last paycheck that if I used my company card to purchase personal items even once I'd be out on my a$$ looking for another job faster than I can say "Bling".

    This is just irresponsible, blatant abuse of privilege and should be subject to appropriate punishment, no if ands or buts.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is really stupid or not true.  Either way he is clearly unfit.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I used to think Arden and Ezzard was the only honest politicians left but now this has left me in doubt about Arden.  These politicians make a very handsome salary to begn with  so there should be no need for them to use a gov credit card for items such as luxury watches, etc.   At theend of the day they are all stealing our money and we are letting them get away with it.  Thank God for the auditor general and others who are looking out for the rest of us.  Well Arden you have lost the litle respect I had left for you so Ezzard you are now the one and only politician that I trust and I bet you won't find any skeletons in your closet!!!! 

     

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    Compass was too quick to declare him"clean". No reliable evidence was given. The evidence should have been given by the bank with the date stamp. Also, where is the evidence that duty was paid on overseas purchases? They were over the allowance amount.

    Clearly,things are not so clear. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Arden should make his personal mastercard statement (just the dollar amounts) public for that period of time. if there was alot of available credit his story about mistake would b more credible

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wow These MLA's are sure living large, $3500 Diamond watches as Christmas gifts.. 

  11. Anonymous4 says:

    This isn't evidence , we need to see the cancel cheque and the bank stamp then we will know the true payment date to government.  Man this some good stuff and election years a way. Lol

    • Anonymous says:

      By why is only Arden being written about how about th eothers that were on thatlist and i am sure there are more government higher uppers that have used government cr cards for personal gain but hasn't been printed???

      • Anonymous says:

        A $3,500.00 woman's watch, you figure it out, on a government credit card.

        That doesn't raise a red flag for you?

      • McCarron McLaughlin says:

        You ever heard of V for Vendetta.. Someone obviously has an issue with the Action Man.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did the auditor general say that the govt. was not paid? Arden has presented his evidence. It is up to you to prove that it is false. Why is Arden being singled out in any event? Did the Compass force Mike Adams to produce proof his payment of his card or were they satisfied with his assurance that he did? XXXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      i thought Arden was clearing his response thru his lawyer thats why he took so long…….but obviously he wasnt. how lame.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If the politicians cannot manage their personal finances without dipping into zero percent loans from the government, then how in blazes can they be expected to manage the country's finances?

     

    Voters, please fire these incompetent and morally bankrupt politicians.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      If the politicans that make such big salaryies cannot buy his wife a christmas gift without useing his own money to pay for her gift .Is like asking an other man to buy his wife gift for him .  This is not the kind of  love i give a gift to my wife .I give it to her from my heart and the sweat of my brove . What kind of man is we realy talking about here . I think it is time to impeach politicans like this by protest by the people demanding they step down from their job , because  the corruption will not stop . IT is time we wake up and rise up .

  13. SKEPTICAL says:

    Why does the handwriting on the several cheques vary so much, especially the scrappy script on the watch refund cheque, compared to the slightly stylish, almost feminine lettering and figures on some of the others.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You can't say to the people that we all have to tighten the belt a bit and then buy a 3500$ watch for your wife, That is disrepectfull to the people that voted you in.

    By the way it is common to use the company card and pay the private charges back. Nothing serious and certainly not worth the quote "McClean comes clean". That is sensationalism.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is an EastEnder, who doesn't live in Eastend but represents the district.

      • Anonymous says:

        What is your point?

      • Anonymous says:

        There's a certain disconnect here. Can't quite put my finger on it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Disconnect between that comment and what it was supposed to respond to, yes.

          • Anonymous says:

            0/10 for sense of humour but 10/10 for correct punctuation (the comma). You must be the life of the party, you witty devil!

      • Anonymous says:

        There have been MLAs who live in districts other the district they represent: Mike Adam, Kurt Tibbetts etc.  

    • Anonymous says:

      sorry you live in lala land if you think it is ok to charge expenses to a company card. Where I work we have let people go for exactly that reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is that disrespectful? First of all, that was back in 2007 when the economy was still buoyant, Second, you cut your coat according to your own cloth. It's his business if he wants to buy his wife a lovely Christmas gift. Leaving aside the use of the govt. card, why do you have a say in that?

  15. 4Cayman says:

    Saw the cheque in the compass today and it's strange there's no bank stamp on it with the date, teller initials, etc…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    Very simply it should be against the law to use the Government card for personal purposes. Under any circumstances. It should be made criminal to do so.

    We pay our elected officials and top CS enough that they should be able to deal with their personal cards.

    I know this might  interfere with hiding spending from the "little woman" at home but that is not the Tax payers problem.

    Our government needs to pass a law that eliminates the current "gray area' in the use of public cards.  They have no reason not to.  Except they are losing a great deal they have been getting away with at our expense.

    Each current card needs to be closely audited and if any have not been paid back or cost us interest or late charges they should be considered for prosecution.

    But we must have new legislation.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Arden you state you didnt incurr interest etc with these purchases well not according to the documents you released.  In regards to the watch the due date of that bill is 12 January 2008, you wrote a cheque on 15th january and the actual bill was not paid till 18th, I assume because it normally takes 3 days for other bank cheques to clear the system.  Therefore there is a late fee involved in this and also interest associated with the purchase.  Where is that payment to the CIG?

     

    The same goes for the cheque you wrote on 28 January 2009, this bill was due to be paid 12 January 2009 which means you paid it 16 days LATE.  where is the late fee and interest that should have been paid.

     

    A proper reconciliation needs to be performed before you can say you coming clean.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is not an Arden specific comment but generally in the private sector, use of the company's credit cart for personal use without prior approval constitutes an unauthorized loan from the company and would result in dismissal of the employee.  Consder the following  – if a cashier or teller at a local bank or supermarket took money from the till without consent on the basis she would pay it back later, do you think the organization would allow such a practice? I don't think so and that individual would certainly be fired.  Mr. McLean acknowledged he used the charge card because his personal card was at its limit.  Essentially, he used the card as a way to finance a purchase until it could be repaid – a loan.  It may have been the practice to do so but it certainly isn't one that should be applauded nor should the individual doing so be commended for being so honest and upright for paying it back.  It was an unauthorized loan and should not have happened in the first instance.   

  19. Anonymous says:

    Arden,

    No one belives you. You need to come clean with all the other charges which i believe were not paid for. This appears tio be a one off charge that you clearly remember but what about the other many times the card was used and you may not have rememebred to pay these charges.

    To clear you from these charges you must present a published comprehensive reconciliation of the expenses and card usages from 2005 to 2009 or maybe beyound if you still have the card in your possession.

    The Caymanian people awaits this reconciliation before the 8th September 2014.

     

    Come truly clean Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fact- he reimbursed the card uses. Lets move on people! Attention taken away from Gas Gate.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand why he converted the $3500 at .8 (he states one US dollar is worth 80cents) but when Government goes to pay the bill, they have to buy the US$ at .84 – therefore he actually stiffed the purse for $140 and got a cheap exchange rate…  Maybe THAT is one of the reasons why they use their cards for personal purposes – they save 4 cents on every dollar they spend…  

    Either way, there should be an absolute NO PERSONAL USE policy on all government cards – a private company would not tolerate employees arbitrarily deciding they have the use of a company card for personal purchases so why should government.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Not defending the use of Govt cards for personal use but your math is wrong. He converted at 0.8375 the official rate that Govt uses in their transactions. But the bank may use 0.84.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What about the celebrity Infinity cruise stated on his credit card statements.  I find it hard to believe that was official business!! 

    • Back teet says:

      That’s the come clean part. Right guys? Right?? Guys, hello? Is this thing on?

    • Financial Crimes Unit?? says:

      A Celebrity Cruise on MY dime?  He was NOT the Minister of Tourism (and if official tourism business it would have been compensated by the cruise line.) 

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey Arden can we see the back of those checks please!?? 

  24. Anonymous says:

    Cayman's car rental companies are getting as crooked as Cayman's politics. For all, take as many pictures of your rental car as possible; this includes the bottom.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I loved his excuse on the rooster. ‘ we can get confused on what card I hand over’ then to come back and say ‘ it’s not out of the govt funds as I pay it back before the late payment’.

    What a joke!!!! Sorry idiot!!! But you know what eatenders will vote him back in….

    • Anonymous says:

      They will vote him back in because he is an honest man and an effective representative. I don't see where the joke was. The answers are consistent. He used the wrong card by mistake, and when he discovered the mistake he reimbursed the govt immediately.  

      • Hey big spender says:

        I’d buy that [excuse] for a dolla. Not!

      • Anonymous says:

        So he used the wrong credit card time and time again??!! Do we have fools written across our foreheads!! And the arrogance that seeps out of this man…………….!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems a pattern of "errors" — in December 2007, March 2008, October 2008, and over a number of purchases at that. Can we really trust someone with the affairs of the country if he cannot keep his personal affairs separate from his official finances? (I wonder what prompted the memo attached? Did someone question what the Minister was doing at the time?)

      and where are the high-priced chief financial officers who are supposed to be keeping on their guard against abuses and potential abuses? 

      For example, here is someone using the official card on a regular basis for personal affairs — is the Minister paying back late fees? Interest payments? 

      I hope that the AG's office is doing a proper forensic analysis and noting what is still owed in late and interest fees and ensuring these are collected.

      the reason I don't have a credit card is that the high interest payments and late fees are killing.  It would be nice if I could pawn those fees off onto someone else, as it appears ministers and top civil servants may be doing. Alas,  I have to bear them and I have to withstand temptation, so I avoid the whole thing altogether and do not possess a credit card. 

      It is high time, too, that lawmakers stop maligning the press who are only doing their jobs.  This is part of their role — to help keep people in power on the straight and narrow.  It is clear that at least some of the civil servants don't have the backbone to do theirs. We need the press to do theirs and if lawmakers cannot respond to media appropriately and respect their roles, we should get rid of them.

      The media asked for a comment — they were giving apportunity to give a simple response — "I paid it back!"  How hard was that?

      And if those are not enough excuses, there is yet another — the upcoming court case.  Utter rubbish! And what is more, Arden knows that that makes no sense.  If it was a problem then, why is it not a problem now? 

      There is a saying, "Buy me for a fool, but don't sell me for one."

    • Anonymous says:

      If there was a law making it illegal to use the cards for personal use that confusion might go away!

      I don't remember the "I was confused" defense working in many gun possession cases.

    • Anonymous says:

      McLean and every politian should read every comment on this issue of Goverment credit card misuse  for personal use , and see what people think of them as being a repersitive of the Island .   I think that before a credit  is issued to any of  them they should need to be approved  by the public . Problem solved .  If they worked  for a private company doing this they would have been fired / terminated .   Why is Arden holding his head down in this photo McLean come clean ?  he is not reading because his lips are not moveing .

  26. Anonymous says:

    I mean we are not talking about  a$100 dollar or $25 dollar charge we are talking about $3500 and $2800 approximately.  An individual would remember paying these charges, why didn't he just say yes from the beginning rather than have the press chase him like a school child.

     

    I am sorry but used in error, I was not born this size and no one uses the wrong card 5 times in one day.  Its more like he said on the radio his personal card was maxed out and that's why he used it on his holiday in florida.

     

    Caymanians aint fool Arden and your sob story aint working no more.

    • Anonymous says:

      He didn't say that he used the wrong card 5 times in one day. He said in that case he used it deliberately because his card had reached its limit and he knew he would repay as soon as he returned to the Island which he did.  

  27. Anonymous says:

    Even if he paid it back, it should not have been done in the first place, now every  2-bit loser will use the same excuse. If a burglar steals from my home, he should still serve time, even if he returned all that he has stolen. 

  28. Anonymous says:

    Seems that Arden banks with Scotiabank, whereas the government credit cards were issued by RBC. How did he manage to get his government card confused with his personal card?

    • Anonymous says:

      I imagine there was no confusion, he uses it for everything, and claims it all as "government business".

      Or maybe he has difficulty distinuguishing between the two Canadian Banks as a foriegner is a foreigner.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      You know that you can have credit card at one bank and accounts at another, right? Sheeessh

      • Anonymous says:

        You can but you usually don't

        • Anonymous says:

          I do. Many people do.

          • Anonymous says:

            You are missing the point, the CIG credit card is for RBC. Mr. Mclean could bank at Scotia and also have cards for…. lets say, CNB and RBC.  At all times he should be able to distinguish which is which when it comes to his personal use.

            No one, not only Mr. Mclean, approved to have use of CIG credit cards should make personal purchases.  Even if they pay soon after or eventually.

            Use your own credit card and if it happens to be maxed then it simply means you should not be buying anything.  If you didnt have your work (CIG) credit card what would you do…?

            Come on it's a no brainer! 

            • Anonymous says:

              I don't disagree with that point. I was responding to the suggestion that confusing them would have been impossible because his personal card would necessarily have been issued by the same bank as his cheque was drawn on (Scotiabank vs. RBC). That's a big assumption to make.

    • Anonymous says:

      I bank with Scotiabank and I have a credit card issued by Butterfield. Try again, Sherlock.

  29. Knot S Smart says:

    I know Arden and he is one of our most honest politicians so I never doubted him…

    When I read the front page story in another newspaper I thought that it smeared him…

    Come on Arden – sue the f7*% out of them for smearing your reputation…

  30. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Mclean keeps saying he  didn't charge any interest on personal purchases?  He onlyrepaid the purchases AFTER the statement was delivered to his ministry.  Which means interest was already calculated and added to the bill.  However his repayemnt check is for purchase amount only.  LOL good try Arden

    • Anonymous says:

      That's actually not how credit cards work. You have 30 days AFTER you receive the bill to make payment in full before interest & charges hit. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Most credit cards give an interest-free period (usually 30-45 days) on any purchase, so if you pay promptly when the bill arrives (i.e. before the due date), then you don't pay any interest.. Everybody knows that.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have a credit card and you are charged interest for current purchases BEFORE the statement is snet to you then you are getting royally ripped off.

  31. Sweet sop says:

    To question or doubt the integrity of Arden McLean is a total waste of time. Thank God we seem to have a few politicians with high morals and integrity. Proud of you Mr. McLean

     

  32. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear and see that Government has been refunded but the whole crux of the matter is that Government credit cards should not have been used for personal purchases to start with. Cards issued by Government or private sector businesses should be used only for business matters and not personal shopping!!! 

  33. Anonymous says:

    Snouts in the trough, all of them.

  34. Mr Richards says:

    Good man- Mr Mclean,  very proud of you and will vote for you next time around. Great you paid money back. 

    • Anonymous says:

      "Great you paid the money back"!  What, so you are congratulating him for not being a thief?  

  35. Anonymous says:

    The amount of people in Government who seem to confuse their Government Credit Card with their Private Credit Card is mind boggling. I wonder how other business people who travel regularly and extensively manage to keep their bussiness and private credit cards separate. In either case, qhether this "inadvertently" business is just a lame duck excuse or a true story is only part of the story – the worriesome part is that there doesn't seem to be any checks and balance in place for proper expense claims to be submitted and signed off on etc.

  36. Anonymous says:

    When my bank receives a check the first thing they do is inital the signiture with a red pen, and stamp the front and back. These checks are too clean and they dont add up.

    • Anonymous says:

      The image Mr. McLean attached is his copy of the check he paid with a signature of the person in government receiving the payment from him as he paid it back numerous years ago. I don'tbelieve he woud have access to the actual deposit that was made by the government.  He might of course, have access to his cancelled check, but tell me how many of us would be able to put our hands on a cancelled check from 7 years ago in such a short timeframe.  I know I would have to spend full time going thru my papers in my attic for weeks on end to find it if it was mine.

      Anyway, Arden keep your head up.  I have known you all my life and have never known you to be dishonest .

  37. Uncivil Servant says:

    There are plenty of excuses but not one vaild one as it pertains to the use of a Government credit card for personal use. I don’t care if you paid it back with interest, it should never have been used in the first place. It is not your credit line, it is not your money. Don’t do it. Regardless of “policy”, it is immoral. Its that simple.

  38. Anonymous says:

    This makes so sense to me!… US$ 3,500.00 converted at .84 = CI$ 2,940.00 at .82 = CI$ 2,780.00 at .80 =CI$ 2,800.00     Where did he get his conversion , as he is still short.

    i also ntice no cancled or deposit stamp, would be nice to see the reverse side o these checks and the rest of the check number that got cut off.

    still smells fishy.

    • Anonymous says:

       

      Check was photocopied and placed on file for future reference before going through the Banking system. We need to see the cancelled cheque.

    • Anonymous says:

      US$3,500 converted at .8375 gives CI$2931.25, and banks probably give big customers like CIG a rate of .8375 instead of .8400 the rest of us peons have to pay.

      I don't think the government credit card should have been used for the purchase, but you would have to really hate Arden or be some kind of natural born fool to believe that he faked this six years after the fact.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is only short if you use the 0.84 conversion rate, and that is not the rate applied to CI$ cheques to USD. It seems he covered any interest owed as well.

      If, as he says, these records were compiled for him by his PA that would be a copy of the cheque at the time of payment, not the cancelled cheque.

      Only for those who are looking for a 'fishy' distraction from the real culprit.

    • Peanuts says:

      09:33  (1) The photo of the cheque was taken BEFORE it was deposited. (2) The numbers were blocked to hide his account number. OK

  39. Anonymous says:

    Exactly CNS, they trying to keep information from us the citizens of this country which is not right.

     

    Arden all I can say is you should have released the information long time.  All you do is talk in circles ppl not buying that lingo anymore Mr. McLean.  Error how can a person make an error on the same credit card 5 times in the same day.  You must think the citizens of this country fall of a turnip truck.  LOL

  40. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could afford a $3500 watch…

  41. Anonymous says:

    Not so clean after all.  He should have never used the government credit card. Entitlement mentality.

    Now he has to prove that he paid duty on oversea purchases. 

  42. Anonymous says:

    Wasn't there a charge for a concert also Rascoal?

  43. Anonymous says:

    McLean is playing games as per the Compass editorial today.

    Some politicians believe any attention is good regardless of the content.

    It is difficult to trust when you don't get simple direct responses.

    I feel much better not listening to morning radio.