Late fee C/C bill unknown

| 08/09/2014

(CNS): Government might have wasted tens of thousands of dollars on credit card late fees as an ongoing FOI request by CNS has revealed that late fees appear to be common on cards issued to public servants and ministers. But with no central control over the management of government credit cards, the late fees bill to the public purse over the last decade could easily exceed $100,000. Based on the details released so far in what has been a very mixed response to a blanket FOI request by CNS for the statements, government entities seem to have accepted late fees as the norm and there has been no one monitoring the growing bill.

CNS has asked for the credit card statements of every government issued credit card from 2007 to date but so far only a handful of entities have responded in full. However, from the Information Commissioner’s Office (the first agency to make a complete and full disclosure) to the planning ministry, most of the entities that have released statements record late fees and large interest payments.

Government officials have been unable to state who is ultimately responsible for the accumulation of a potentially large late payment bill to the government coffers as each entity is responsible for their own bills. The issue has been acknowledged by government officials, however, since the first revelations regarding the misuse of credit cards across government was revealed in a selection of statements leaked to the press. 

According to information from the deputy governor’s office, it is the Treasury which is responsible for obtaining credit cards from government’s bankers and ensuring that all card holders are provided with the government’s credit card policy, but late payments are down to each individual chief officer or department boss. 

Officials told CNS that late fees occur for a variety of reasons, including the late submission of expense claims, original receipts and other supporting documentation. Government also said that the banks issued credit card statements only one or two days before the payment due date and in some instances after the payment due dates, making it “extremely difficult if not impossible to meet the payment due date.”

Measure have been taken, officials told CNS, to avoid future late fees as ministries, portfolios and offices are now more vigilant about making timely payments on credit cards.

Officials said a combination of accessing credit card statements online, among other new directions, allows for better management, monitoring and settlement of credit card transactions. Monthly credit card statements from government’s bankers are now being received well before the due dates. A pre-set payment due date has also been established by the government’s bankers for all cardholders, and financial officers are now querying late fees and interest charges if the delay is caused by the government’s bankers.

As a result, officials said that the public sector should be able to adhere to the credit card policy, which requires payments to be paid on or before the due date.

Despite its purchasing powe,r government is still being charged 18% per annum on unpaid credit card balances.

“The Treasury Department approached the government’s bankers in January 2014 querying the high interest rate charged and was advised that the rate was reflective of industry standards,” officials confirmed.

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Category: Politics

Comments (42)

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  1. Mark Hennings says:

    Marco soon fix that.

    • Anonymous says:

       

       

      MARCO FIX THIS ABUSE AND MISMANAGEMENT AND RECKLESSNESS PLEASE

      After all someone  got to do the dirty worik

      We can all be good guys and keep noses clean while the Public Pay for  the Misuse and Abuse.

      Most of the Politicians honestly –  should  have to take   a BASIC Accounting Class as a Requirement for Running for office ( if they dont have any formal education in that field)

       

      SOmeone has got to be the Disciplinarian or you have a howuse of little spoil Bratts who run up and down in Airplanes, paid for rent a cars, Hotel and food paid for

       Having a good time at the Middle Glass hard working people of this Country's expense

      Someone  have  got to STOP The MADNESS!!! While the poor hard working population of this

      Country  pick up the slack

  2. Anonymous says:

    I seriously think that every single govt official that was issued a card should have their salary deducted the full amount immediately : balances : fees If it's a billwe owed what would happen? Well none of them : Governor deputy governor premier ministers backbenchers are above the law of the Cayman Islands THEY WORK FOR US! If a employee took advantage of a company credit card what would happen to them. Private sector or junior / senior management within govt – they would be reprimanded and made to pay the entire amount back And dismissed, XXXX

  3. Know it all says:

    Look folks CNS says "might" to start off the article. That says it all for me.  Please get then facts before you report. Plus we are flogging sometime that happened years ago. Zzzzzzzzzzz

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is the watch still working?

  5. Anonymous says:

    REASONS FOR INCONSISTENCY IN FOI REQUEST ON CREDIT CARDS

    The Senior Civil Servants are more corrupted than amy politician will ever be. The Chief Officers are protected by the DG, especially those that he like for more reason than one. There are some senior people that the DG will never touch because they were part of the little group that was air marked for certain senior positions by the former DG. 

    Trust me when I say that directives were given to Ministries and Departments to redact a lot of the information on the credit cards.  Some ministries and departments ignored the instructions and have released the full details. There are others unfortunately who are afraid of the top guys and have redacted a lot of the information on instructions. An FOI Manager do not have to adhere to any senior person. However, the level of vitimization in the civil servant has never been this high in its history. 

    Minister Marco Archer, are you going to be bold enough to make the obvious and necessary decision to re-centralize government finance and HR operations and reintroduce the Public Service Commission? If not, the civil service will continue on its downward spiral which has gotten worse when the former DG took over and 100 times worse since the current DG been appointed. His only concern is to be in the papers for publicity while the civil service is going to hell in a straw basket. He does not have the level of education and intelligence to run a department. So how can he run the country is beyond me. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Your dislike of and bias against the Deputy Governor are so intense that they are clearly clouding your judgement so we can safely ignore all the preposterous suggestions in your post 21;52.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a load of crock. This DG has ordered  all credit card expenses to be published. This is history making. If he is doing a poor job then I'm lost as to who can do better.  Where have you been living these past 2 years. The civil service has never been in better shape.  Guess you musts be one of those persons the DG didn't promote because ….. We'll you know why.  

  6. JoJo Jr says:

    I say they take away all them credit cards and make the government workers pay with nickels. One role of nickels each. When you used it up you can ask for another but only if you show a receipt for proof of where you spent it.

    Problem fixed bobo.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If these folks cannot manage the small stuff, how can they be trusted to manage the bigstuff?

     

    This smells like a lethal combination of incompetence, laziness, and corruption.

     

    The corrupt indivituals love hiding behind incompentence and laziness; they can then point fingers and say "it wasn't me".

  8. Anonymous says:

    They seem to have accepted corrruption as the norm.   Now that that is out in the open…What now?

    • Take away the cards and make them file an expense report says:

      Take AWAY their credit cards and they can submit expense reports like the rest of the white collar world!! Sorry, but I have been a Caribbean Regional Sales Manager for two major companies within the Caribbean for the past 15 years and neither has given me a corporate credit card.  Yes, this used to be done, but the good old days are over.

      Corporations are clever and they see the benefit of expense reports. I have to use my own card and submit my expenses after the trip.  A few times I would forget a taxi or a tip, but that is the cost of doing business!

      It is a "give and take" and the company and I both win. I get to keep the airline miles and have an amazing credit score and the company usually saves on expenses.  The per dime and hotel rates are set- thecompanies negotiate corporate rates and reward programs.

      These politicians make a good wage and all should have a credit card. Make them pay their own way and submit expense reports!  This is best practice and good corporate governance. 

      CNS: which department is responsible for the credit card contract? Which bank and vendor do they use?

      • typo from Take Away Their Credit Cards says:

        Sorry, typo in flurry of tap, tap, tap… "Per diem"

        but WHO would give it a thmbs down? Huh.

        Responsible executives file expenses, period.  That is the real world.  Since we clearly do not have responsible politicians, WHY should we allow them to carry credit cards?  No siree, I say theat political "perk" needs to be removed.  There is nowhere in the MLA election rules that say you get a credit card with your big fat MLA salary.

        Just like a child who has been given an inch and took a mile, it is time for the parent (we the voters) to take away this perk and make the politicians pay their own way!

        Can you imagine the fiscal responsibility we would gain if an MLA knows that they are paying for the Miami, New York, or London hotel and that we – the public- will SEE the expense reports when they come home?  Sounds like excellent financial sense to me…..(a voter and it is my money!)

    • Hear Hear! says:

      Take away the "company" credit cards and let them file expense reports like the rest of us (executives)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Come on alden we waiting for you to come clean too!! lol

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is why WE the Civil servants that have to bust our asses had our pay cut the little that we do make and for some reason the public and private sector seem to think WE ALL make this huge salary well we all DONT
    They talking about cutting civil servants they better start from the top!

    • Anonymous says:

      We (the unintitled to free medical and pensions)  Not to mention free gas, couldn't agree more with the last sentence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Know ur shit before you spit. That seems like an awesome benefit doesn’t it considering our salaries thank the good Lord because the Majority barely make it each month. Not every civil servant lives to be flashy and to the hilt in loans for trying live above their means. Their are most of us that try our very best to stay above water and work our asses off some behind the scenes, some on the front line (not all) but most.

        LONG STORY SHORT THE PUBLIC / PRIVATE SECTOR DOESN’T KNOW A LOT OF WHAT WE GO THRU DAILY.

        And please tell ME where the free gas is because I sure as hell need some now.

    • Anonymous says:

      What I wanted to see was those blacked out vendors for the Ministry of Education going back in time.  I recall one Christmas when one CO maxed put the goat card because she was sending gift baskets to the world and his wife inside and outside of govt.

      and that was only what I was aware of.  Who knows what other purposes those cards were put to.

      Shame on those ministries that  engaged in the meaningless exercise of just releasing the total figure.  There is absolutely no point to that and you all know it. We can only assume that you all were deeply afraid of what those lists of vendors would reveal.  Sad. 

      agree with those  who say it makes them weep.

       

       

  11. Anonymous says:

    CaymanKind

  12. Anonymous says:

    No more govt issued credit cards please. period.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can we have an election now, so that we can get rid of these parasites. Nothing but a bunch disgraceful, wasteful, no good theives. 

    They got us all broke with this high cost of living, man this is too much now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are you going to elect? They are all the same.  Grasping, greedy egotists.

    • Anonymous says:

      That's a great idea…. Oh, I forgot…. What brilliant saints you going to put in their place. You people runnin out of people. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Late fees are the least of our concerns really. Even the credit cards themselves represent only a tiny fraction of the public money that has been lavished on public servants and their hangers on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Soooooo, let's just forget about it?

      • Hear Hear! says:

        No, we ut take away the cards and set policies that make sense.  My company has a corporate membership with both Hilton and Marriott so I get to keep my "air miles" and "hotel points" to upgrade, but I also have a nightly rate approved for each place I go to.  $250 per night Bahamas, £300 per night London, $225 per night Miami, etc…..if I want to upgrade myself to a suite then I pay the rate difference.

        WHY is it that these selfish pirates think they can act above the station of the rest of the white collar world? 

        Good governenance.  Take AWAY ALL the Da%*m cards and make these fat cats either pay for their jollys themselves or submit an approved expense report.

         

         

      • Anonymous says:

        No but the whole culture is one of entitlement and waste. They are totally impervious to criticism and outrage and both parties are as bad as each other. I just don't know whether it can be fixed. 

        Especially in a community this small where most of the voters or their families are on the gravy train. They don't understand that they are killing the golden goose that is Cayman's financial industry with every headline and every fee increase.

        I estimate that McKeeva's "expat tax" proposal caused a 25% drop in international business for about 6 months.  The only reason it was thought necessary was to cover the losses from rampant over spending and waste.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is truly disgraceful, what a terrible example to set. I wonder how much the interest adds up to.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Late fees are just docked from pay right?

  17. Anonymous says:

    There are no surprises here.  The archaic beauracratic mindset and processes that are designed to build in huge waste and extra time (try checking in to see your doctor or speak on an issue with immigration) by the various 'jobsworths' in Government can only make you weep.  Why on earth would anyone expect government employees to be accountable as they are in the private sector?  Get real!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Take away all the cards!  I did not have a corporate card to use on my job. Anyone that wanted to go on personal shopping sprees were expected to use their own personal credit cards. No wonder these individuals are living in luxury with all the free government cards floating around and no accountability.

  19. Anonymous says:

    In case anyone from Government is reading this here's a suggestion, set up an autopayment to cover the minimum payment on the card, that means no more late fees, at the same time keep working on getting the cards paid off in time as well, usually if the autopay option isn't triggered (by you paying off the card) you won't get charged that fee either. 

    Or you could pay off the cards in full, automatically every month, which equals no interest and no late fees and make sure the internal process is robust enough to make sure the expense reports are completed in a timely manner and monies accounted for.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Or, let me see. Now what could we do?  Oh hey, I know. Get people to stop stealing!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      They'll just bitch that they sent it all in to finance and you know what happened to it then.

  20. B. Hurlstone says:

    The third paragraph explains it all:  Nobody is responsible, and that's the way it is with CIG.

    Someone(?) in the Treasury Department "approached the government's bankers" and was advised that "the rate was reflective of industry standards".  Does that mean that no effort was made to procure a better rate from these or other banks?  Why not?  For large accounts some banks offer better rates.  

    Will anything be done about the gross misuse of government credit cards?  Will a better interest rate from card issuers be sought?  Will the 18% late payment fees be avoided?  No. This is the Caymans.