PAC issues summons to Joey

| 25/11/2009

(CNS):  Following his failure to turn up to the Public Accounts Committee hearing today, Joey Ebanks, the former MD of the Turtle Farm, has been issued with a formal and legally binding summons for him to appear on 3 December. Ebanks was scheduled to appear as a witness on Wednesday morning, 25 November, to give evidence to PAC as it examined the auditor general’s report  "Loans and Expenditures of Funds at Boatswain’s Beach". The report revealed the details of so-called salary advances or loans, as well as turtle meat bought on credit and bar tabs ran up by Ebanks during his tenure as the boss at the facility that amounted to over $50,000.

At the opening of the meeting, which was held in public at the Legislative Assembly, PAC Chair Ezzard Miller told the committee that the Serjeant-at-Arms had been told that Joseph Ebanks, who was scheduled to be the first witness would not be attending. The members expressed their disappointment and observed that Ebanks had declared his intention publically on a number of occasions to attend to answer the report’s findings.

Auditor General Dan Duguay noted that Ebanks had said he did not feel he would get a fair hearing by submitting an answer in writing to the AG for the report and had wanted to defend himself at PAC. “We gave him several opportunities to respond to the report and he always said he would, but he never did and later said he would not have had a fair shot,” Duguay said, adding that his office had even delayed publication of the report to offer him time to comment.  Duguay explained that whatever Ebanks would have submitted in writing would have been included in the report as his response.

Following his failure to show, PAC called Joel Walton, the former chair of the Boatswain’s Beach board, who said he felt Duguay’s report was accurate. The next witness was the farm’s Chief Financial Officerwho said he had signed off on some of the checks which were issued to Ebanks as advances. During the questioning of those two witnesses it was revealed that Ebanks had been signing off on his own salary advances (or loans) with the second signature on cheques coming from different members of the management team. It was also revealed that Ebanks had eventually paid the entire sum back in cash without any explanation of where the more than $50,000 in notes had come from.

As a result of the various questions that arose once the committee began examining witnesses, they agreed to issue the formal summons to Ebanks.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was not a supporter of Joey nor the PPM  per say , but I  do know that he is a good guy. Since he has paid back the money what is the big deal? Money is being used every day for the wrong reason without no justification what soever. I am not reading about that, wrong is wrong. What about all those plane tickets? Caymanians please stop destroying each other. We are like crabs in a bucket. Especially when one is poor and trying to go some place, what a shame. Please just rest this poor man, remember what goes around comes comes back to haunt you. I  have only spoken to him once in my life and that was by phone when he was at CUC TO ASK OF HIM SOME FAVOUR MANY YEARS AGO . I always remenber that he was so ready to assist, and I  was very impressed by this. THIS IS ALL A SHAME.

    • Anon says:

      To: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/27/2009- 00:53. – I agree with you 100%! Joey is a good man. And even the nice guys make mistakes! The only perfect man there ever was was Jesus himself! Joey did his part in doing his best to right his wrong! So why is that not enough! What will it take? For him to give them his blood like they made the poor Lord Almighty do! Joey, don’t worry! This too shall pass!! I’ll keep you in my prayers! We are all human and we are all prune to make mistakes! All we can do after the fact is accept our faults! Try our best to right our wrongs and move on to better for ourselves! God bless you and your family and I pray that this will soon be over and you and your family can move on to better things in life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He paid it back!!!

    When he was paying it back, whoever accepted the payment from him should had questioned him then and there.  if there was any doubt then why did you accept the repayment. There is no need for the source to be revealed in public.  What you all should be investigating is the elected politicians who are accepting money under the tables. Joey move on with your life, you have a family to support. Just don’t find yourself in this position again.  They are beating a dead horse dead!!

  3. counsel says:

    Again CNS leads the way!! Didn’t one of the other news networks make this fine upstanding Caymanian ‘Man of the Year’????

    Now which one was that?

    Surely this is one incident where the wicked expats CAN’T be blamed……

    • Anonymous says:

      No – only a wicked publisher with status who made someone man of the year so he could continue feeding off his ego with a lucrative advertising and agency contract.

      What about the several thousand copies of the publication that were bought with Boatswain’s Beach money? That was a few thousand dollars well.

      Such a lovely friendship – which all came to a bitter end when Joey did not want said publisher guiding his political campaign….

  4. Lorna Bush says:

    This is so bad and then to simply not show up? C’mon Joey, we expected a lot better than that.

    Are you still considering offering yourself to the people as their MLA?

  5. what a mess says:

    This is about much more than just paying back the money. Mr. Ebanks has shown a total disregard for professional ethics here. And seems to think he is above the law…as many others do.

    Many a struggling woman or man are at HMP for "loaning" themselves their employers money, even if they paid it back.

    This type of corruption is having a direct negative impact on our people/society today.Others see politicians (and their friends) "getting away" with acts that regular people would be criminalized for…by these types of examples.

    Well past time for some real laws with real teeth for corruption…to make an example!…like these same politicians often do to our impressionable youth.

    Good job PAC and AG!

    • Anonymous says:

      Whats going on here? The borrowed money has been paid back in full with explanation but my honest belief is that if this was a foreigner or a UDP member all this would have been swept under the carpet like all the suspicious activities associated with anything UDP.

      • anonymous says:

        Doesn’t matter wheather he is UDP or PPM to me.

        It’s about a total lack of professional ethics. Two wrongs don’t make a right. ALL people, regardless of their political affiliations should be held accountable…especially when they are in positions of trust with the peoples monies.

      • Let's Be Real says:

        I humbly submit that saying that "The borrowed money has been paid back in full with explanation" therefore "sweep it under the rug", is a dangerous attitude to take.

        Regardless of who it is, if wrong is done, then people need to take responsibility AND face the consequences. Isn’t this what we teach our children. They are watching, let’s see how this plays out. We’ll see what it teaches them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It real does matter where the money came from

     
    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I believe it does matter where it came from and maybe there is good reason why he will not disclose the source.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The issue here is not about paying it back. The report raised other questions about the procedural way in which he went about obtaining these loans in the first place. He should not have been signing off on his own loans – that’s completely unethical.

    I think PAC has a number of unanswered questions including that entertainment tab. What’s the position with that? That has yet to be settled.

    I don’t think it’s anyone business where he got the money to pay it back once it was obtained legally. That is not the PACs concern actually.

    Joey was in a position of accountability and trust with public funds. He needs to be held accountable if he did anything that was not in keeping with that level of trust. The auditor general’s report found that there were things that were unethical and should not have happened. Unfortunately, there were no checks and balances in place to prevent it from happening.

    Now – that has to change. Joey saw the system was weak and abused it.

  8. Realist says:

    This is the Cayman Islands… doesn’t every politically-connected person have $50,000 in cash sitting around to pay a few bills?  Where do you think you are?

  9. Breastfriend says:

    he already paid it back. Read the news again and it was mentioned. They just want to know where he got the money from to pay it back in full.

    • Just Sayin says:

      Who knows, who cares, maybe he sold his boat. So what?

    • Common Sense 101 says:

      Repayment is not the issue. The issue appears to be, under what authority did he have the right to sign checks to himself for these large advances taken from a Statutory Authority’s account and does this rise to the level of fraud?

    • Backstroke says:

      My view is that he got the money to pay it back  very quickly.

      Now if he needed all this money so badly and frequently as it seems he did, how could he come up with $50.000.00 so quickly to pay back and dont we when we go to a business to pay such high payments have to prove where we got the money from? Thats my only problem with it, I couldnt care less what he did with it, its his consciences that he has to live with and his family that bears the pain.

  10. 5th Generation Young Caymanian says:

    Mr. Joey – if you did this, pay it back. If you didn’t then don’t.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The obvious question one would ask is where and under what circumstances did he pay back such a large sum of money in cash?

    He didn’t win the lottery.

    Joey is certainly having his dirty laundry cleaned in public, I hope others realize what goes around comes around.

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    make him pay it all back