Joey to face grilling on cash

| 01/12/2009

(CNS): The former managing director of Boatswain’s Beach is to face questions this week over a cash payment of more than $50,000 he made to the facility to pay back an outstanding loan when he resigned in order to run for political office in May of this year. Last week, the Public Accounts Committee raised concerns that, following his resignations and the revelations about the unauthorized borrowing he had made from the farm, Joey Ebanks had eventually paid back his substantial debt in cash with no questions asked.  Following a summons issued at the last PAC meeting, Ebanks has reportedly confirmed his appearance this Thursday when members are expected to grill the former farm MD on the source of that mystery cash.

All major cash payments in the Cayman Islands are subject to scrutiny as a result of international anti-money laundering agreements, but Ebanks’ repayment was banked by farm management as ‘business operations’. Despite the fact that the farm would generally, at that time of year, only bank a few thousand dollars per day, the Boatswain’s Beach senior accountant told the PAC last week that, when Ebanks came to the office with $50,000 in cash, the acting manager director simply took the money from him and paid it into the bank and stated on the anti-money laundering declaration that it was business takings.

The farm CFO said that no questions were asked of Ebanks about how he had suddenly come up with more than $50,000 to pay his debt in full, after spending some 18 months borrowing every month from Boatswain Beach against his salary, getting deeper and deeper into debt.

Following his resignation, the full extent of Ebanks’ debt was revealed and, according to the senior accountant, a few weeks later he paid back the entire outstanding sum. Relieved to get the cash back, the CFO said that they had taken the money and deposited it straight into the Turtle Farm’s bank account. Although the farm had reportedly talked with the financial reporting authority, they were told that unless they had reason to be suspicious there was no need for them to report the cash sum.

The CFO admitted that, when the farm had filled in the anti-money laundering declaration at the bank, they had not given a full account of the source of the money, merely stating it was business operations. The bank in turn also asked no questions, he said, despite the considerable increase in the sum paid to the bank by comparison to their normal deposits.

The details of Ebank’s cash delivery were all revealed when the PAC questioned the chair of the Turtle Farm board and the CFO regarding the auditor general’s recent report on the unauthorized loans and advances taken by Ebanks during his time there. The former MD had been expected at the hearing on 25 November but he reportedly told the Legislative Assembly’s Serjeant-at-Arms that he was not coming. The committee then decide to issue an official summons to Ebanks to compel him to testify before PAC on Thursday. The chair of the committee, Ezzard Miller, said that if Ebanks failed to appear this week the committee could report to the  Legislative Assembly for sanctions against Ebanks, which could even include imprisonment.

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  1. Hmmmph says:

    Can we leave politics out of this? However you look at it this whole transaction is questionable and need to be investigated and should not be swept under the rug.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was $97,000 that Mac owed CAL…..just thought I would clarify that one !

    ………..I wonder what the bill is now………and what it will be by 2013 ?????????………..guess we’ll need the Chuckster back to tell us that one !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are there any laws in place now to avoid a repeat of this occurance or do we have to wait for the Anti-Corruption Law to come in effect on January 1st, 2010.

    If Joey, a Private Citizen borrowed the money from a Government sub entity in Boatswain Beach, does that make him a Civil Servant?  If he borrowed the money from a Private source and he repaid the money without question from the Board Members, the Accountant and the Bankers, then why are you concern now 6 months + after, about the source? The due deligence should had been done from then or is it that the UDP is trying to proove that the money came from the PPM members?  Whynot work now on closing the loop holes, to make sure this cannot happen again across the board.  Mr. AG, why not audit what Ellio and other UDP Backbencher are doing handling money to pay the road workers, instead of the Environmental Department?  Why is it now a concern for the PAC to destroy a Private Citizen character to prove a point for UDP?  Can’t you guys move on?  Joey has been punished enough in thePublic eye and I am sure, Mr. Miller Joey will not be a threat to you again in North Side.  Move on with the issues of these Islands.  Start getting jobs for the born Caymanian.  Move on!!!!

    • I read the news today oh boy says:

      Why is it now a concern for the PAC to destroy a Private Citizen character to prove a point for UDP?  Can’t you guys move on?  Joey has been punished enough in the Public eye

      I’ll answer that

      I don’t know who Joey is, but the point is:  He gave himself "loans" and "salary advances" from the funds of a government run enterprise.  Continuosly.  Until it amounted to $50,000.  Then one day, after he had left, walked in and paid it all in cash.  Noone can do that.  Questions are asked, even if you have sold your house.  This isn’t about punishment.  It’s about accountability.  Yes, and even "Joey" has to be made accountable.  Which is something he should have known at the beginning.  And if he didn’t, he does now.  If friends took up a collection for this confused guy that’s great, but while he was the director he still should not have used Boatswains as a piggy bank.

  4. A Concerned Caymanian says:

    Perhaps the CFO should be investigated as some things just don’t add up.  Why didn’t the CFO inform the board of these large unpaid "advances" and why did the CFO continue to give them knowing that the previous "advances" were not repaid.  In the Civil Service you can only be advanced your salary for a month and it must be repaid before another is granted.  In most cases you can only received 2 advance for the year.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is absolutely correct. The CFO should bear full responsibility for this situation. He not only failed to do his duty but also allowed a very questionable deposit of cash that may have violated the Anti-Money Laundering laws ofthis country. In his position and with his training he clearly cannot say that he did not know about those laws. And clearly he failed to satisfy his responcibility to the Government and Board of Boatswain Beach. XXXXX

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am sure he has friends that could have loaned him the $50,000 that he paid back. Why dont we all wait till he explains it to us?

  6. Anonymous says:

    One has to wonder why Joey is suddenly being fingered for types of activities that are not all that uncommon in the Cayman Islands.

    People playing fast and loose with the money is standard operating procedure here.

  7. A Concerned Caymanian says:

     So where is the Due -Diligence documents for this sum!!!!!

    I guess that only applies to us few, that when we sell a piece of our property, we have to show how we got this big amount of money!!!! Because heaven forbid we should not be allowed to have any big amount of money!!!!


    Need I say More!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Honesty is the best policy knowing the decent family Joey come from i’m sure that he was taught this. It’s a pity that some people let greed get the better of him and spoil their good family name.


  9. noname says:

    Question folks! remeber the $75,000 Mac owed to Cayman Airways, Mike was the CEO at the time and he allowed Mac to run up this bill for a long period of time with out any payments!? how was this paid back?!


    • Anonymous says:

      now, now, now! That is mckeeva bush you talking about! It will never be investigated or questioned! NEVER! Bush & the UDP seem to be above the law for some reason, so please do not expect anything they do wrong to be investigated! WE all know that Bush owed $75,000 to CAL but please do not expect anything to be exposed about that very strange incident!

  10. GR says:

     I hope the police investigate this blatant disregard for the country’s AML laws.  I work in the financial services industry and would be fired if I accepted $50,000 without performing the necessary procedures.

  11. what a mess says:

    This all would be funny…if it weren’t so serious.

    Neither the CFO nor the Bank asked ANY questions about this?…a $50,000 cash payment by someone who needed to "borrow" sooooo much money for the preseding 18 months…and the bank which would have..or should have seen such a large increase as compared to years of deposits? From the time i learnt he had paid this sum back in "cash", i thought "that’s strange", how many peole do you know who pay $50,000 bills in cash?

    Thankfully the PAC is insisting this not be swept under the carpet.

    Again; thereare many poor and struggling people (including single mothers) who are in prison for "borrowing" their employers money. Mr. Ebanks was in a powerful position of trust and his actions here are very questionable to say the least. Very unethical. And he should face no less than the average person…in fact he should face more!

    The more we allow people in powerful positions…and/or people with money to get away with the same or lesser actions (called crimes for joe/sarah average) the more negative societal impacts. Young people who lose their father or mother for years for the same behavior that the rich and powerful "get away" with, will not likely gain respect for such authority!

    Long past time for the Anti-Corruption legislation…to ensure that "leaders" do the right thing…or face REAL consequences. Not some silly tribunal where the most to be expected is a slap on the wrist…at considerable cost to the same taxpayer who has already been ripped off…(re-opening the wound…then adding salt).

    Crime will not likely improve without real and meaningful sanctions/consequences including prison time…for ALL!

    • Anonymous says:

      23:45!!! don’t you have any questions about the questionable dealings of the UDP? You don’t have any questions about all the corruption under the UDP? You only have questions about the $60,000 advanced to Mr. Ebanks? Are you a member of the UDP? You have no questions about the millions that was overspent (& that is to put it very nicely) on all the pet projects of the UDP that has left this country in deep financial problems? You have no questions about the millions of $’s that government have to subsidise to the UDP’s pet projects just to keep them in operation? Are you a member of the UDP? I think the UDP wasted, WASTED more $’s than any other government has ever done. At least with other governments we can see where the money went, but I don’t think the UDP & Bush can say the same! Where did the wasted millions of $’s go that was supposed to be spent on the turtle farm?WHERE?

      • Hmmmph says:

        If this story was about the UDP overspending, then we would have comments relating on that.

        People are staying on topic (which is refreshing).

  12. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    50,000 in cash…..proper business practices require checks…….50,000 in cash…..this kind of thing happens far to often.