Prosecute, says ex-PAC boss

| 30/10/2012

ezzard june_0.jpg(CNS): The former chair of the Public Accounts Committee has called for those responsible for the persistent failure in government to account for the spending of some $2 billion of public money to be prosecuted. Ezzard Miller said that the latest report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) reveals that, despite every assistance rendered to the various government entities, the results of the update on public accounting show nothing has really changed. The independent member, who chaired the parliamentary committee for the first two years of this current administration, called the situation a “shambles” and said the report was no different from the five that had preceded it.

“It’s like the PAC was talking to empty chairs,” Miller told CNS following the publication of a report from Alastair Swarbrick’s office regarding the state of government’s financial accountability to the taxpayer.

Prior to his resignation from the committee, following what he described as the persistent failure of the UDP members to turn up for meetings, Miller had warned senior civil servants responsible for producing government accounts that he would be seeking to prosecute those who failed to comply with the Public Management and Finance Law after they had been given numerous opportunities to do so.

However, he said the Attorney General’s Chambers did not seem to have the will to go forward nor was anyone sure exactly who under the law was responsible. With no one accountable, Miller said, there has been no impetus to address the problem.

Despite the claims by the premier that he had presided over an improvement in public accounting, government has still failed to produce consolidated accounts for 2010/11 that can be audited and are unlikely to be able to produce any meaningful account for the 2011/12 year either.

“During the last committee meeting I held I warned the chief officers and financial officers that there was provision under the law for them to be prosecuted and I believe that unless someone is held to account the public will never see a set of accounts telling them what government has done with their money.”

Miller said nothing had changed and it was unacceptable that $2 billion could remain unaccounted for.

“The situation is terrible and the report reveals that one of the worst offenders is the finance, tourism and development ministry,” Miller said. Despite breaking that ministry down there are still issues with the accounts for the premier’s areas of responsibility. “The fact that the finance ministry is one of the worst offenders speaks volumes. The premier’s ministry should be setting the example. This is an appalling state of affairs.”

The most problematic ministry, however, is the one presided over by the deputy premier. Audits for the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands & Agriculture continue to be disclaimed, which means Swarbrick’s team was not given enough information to work with and could not completean audit.

As a result of the persistent failure, the independent member said the electorate would not see any sets of consolidated accounts relating to government finances during an entire administration before another election.

Miller said the latest report by Alastair Swarbrick demonstrates that almost none of the various recommendations that the audit office and PAC has made over the last three years have been implemented and the minor improvements the auditor’s office has seen have not translated into any kind of meaningful information for the voting public and taxpayers.

In the report Swarbrick points to an improvement in the timeliness of the accounts being delivered to his office with most of the government entities obligated to produce reports meeting the statutory deadline. However, in many cases Swarbrick said, information is still missing, which means his office cannot offer unqualified opinions. This has had a knock-on effect on the consolidated accounts, and despite claims that it would produce consolidated accounts for 2010/11, government will not meet that commitment.

The entire public sector financial statements are meant to report all of government’s financial activity in a given fiscal year and is one of the most important documents an administration should produce in order to meet standards of good governance and transparency.

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Category: Politics

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is the circus in town???

    Joking aside if people out there in their employment didn't perform duties that were expected of them, how long would they have a job?  Why is this constant charade allowed to continue without any heads rolling.

    If these clowns haven't got any accounts in auditable condition what have they based their forecasts on in the recent budget, fresh air I imagine.

    Get all the people resonsible for this neglect in a room, and ask them who wants a job or who turns up to just toss around.  Assuming these part-timers want to keep a job give them an ultimatum, get the accounts done or get out.

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Short memories,envy and people simply hell bent on painting an ugly picture of the Islands we all claim to love and the sad part is I honestly thought that when Mr.Miller was elected that

    we would have had an alternative the next election and not have to worry about the UDP

    or the PPM for awhile but now he has thrown that away because the Independents have long

    given up on him for his arrogance and new relationship with the East End representative,he is not welcomed in the PPM tent and he is not trusted by the UDP.

    My point is, what a good brain gone to waste,if only he had driven this differently who knows

    he could have even been our next Premier but he just continues to play the same old politics

    of yesteryear,nothing new.

    There are so many different ways he could have handled this and now the true victims

    are undoubtably the people of North Side, they are the ones who will be hung out to dry,

    Chances are he will be re-elected but he will not be part of forming any new Government

    or providing the sort of representation that the lovely district deserves.

    With all the social media and world wide attention nowadays please let us conduct ourselves

    and the business of Government with pride and dignity not to drum up support for the next election.

    Ezzard Miller Supporter.

    • Anonymous says:

      "With all the social media and world wide attention nowadays please let us conduct ourselves and the business of Government with pride and dignity"  Way, way too late for that.  In this day and age Cayman government is looked apon as backward thinking and corrupt.  The fact that you are calling for pride and dignity is not helping the way the rest of the world views Caymanians.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who does Ezzard think that he is kidding?

    The day that Caymanians prosecute other Caymanians for criminal, incompetence, corruption or conflict of interest then that will be the day.

    It is easy to make the call for prosecution but when the individual is in court or sent to Northward then and only then will I believe it.  There is example after example of people being given a pass or get out of jail free card, one word will say it all, gasgate.

  4. Joe B says:

    Because they (CIG) does not have to comply with the laws stating that they HAVE TO show us where and how the money is being spent for us then WHY should anyone HAVE TO give up even more of their hard earned money or any more of their hard earned money to them?  Answer: because they will use the threat of prosecution to make you.  Therefore it only makes perfect sense to use the threat of prosecution to force them to comply.  Arrest them now.  Before they can get away.

  5. Anonymous says:
    Government is a disease…
    …masquerading as its own cure…
  6. Anonymous says:

    Total embarrassment…the corruption continues…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Fire them.

    Do not waste public money prosecuting them

    We would not have to fire many, perhaps only one or two, and the rest would get the message.

  8. SKEPTICAL says:

    Might not agree with all of Ezzard’s Agenda, but this time believe he has hit the nail right on the head. The arrogance of the premier and his deputy in ” thumbing their noses ” at the Auditor General speaks volumes about their lack of professionalism, manners and breeding. Sadly, without the intervention of the FCO through the Governor, if that is indeed an available option, it seems that Alastair Swarbrick,, like his predecessor, is ” pissing into the wind ” – hopefully he will continue to exercise the same diligence, however little official support he receives. Cannot see that many differences between what has been happening here, and what prompted the takeover of TCI by the UK. It is a dreadful condemnation ofthe state of Cayman, that people like bush and ju- ju can milk the system with absolutely no controls or accountability.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mack and Juju are not to blame ALONE, there are civil servants (i.e. Chief Officers) that are required by law (PMFL) and international auditing principles to have detailed information regarding income and expenses for their respective departments.

       

      I feel there is an excess of Chief Officers anyway, I mean, we still have two on required leave, getting paid for not working, and the ones that are supposed to be working are not doing a great job either.

       

      Fire the bunch, there is better stock underneath.

    • OLD BUSHA MAN! says:

      We all know that all dictators at sometime or other will run  to some predetermined Country where they have stashed their millions, but where no one respects or cares about them. There they will be tolerated until the money runs out, then they will be found guilty of crimes they have committed while in office and sent back home to face the music, but prior to being incarcerated, there should be a public holiday named in celebration of their return. And the holiday should  appropriately be called!  

      "BEAT THAT DUMB ASS JACKASS' DAY". 

      And by law, everyone must get at least two good swipes at their bare bottom with a cow cod.

      If this sounds reasonable give it a thumbs up!

  9. Anonymous says:

    No government should have the right to raise duties, permits and tax fees on citizens unless they can show how our dollars have been spent in the past year (s).   Roll back the increase in taxes and fees now, until such time you can tell me how my dollars and those of the rest of the people who live and work here, have been spent.  When I see audited details of how my money has been spent and I know what is being achieved, then I will consider giving my consent to increased fees.   I am not willing to continue funding all these useless, all-expenses paid luxury travel for those unwilling to stay at home and roll up their sleeves and do some actual work for a change. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Perfect script for an Art imitating Life novel.  Island nation laws written that allow for rampant unaccoutable corruption.  Through in some guns, drugs, missing persons and prostitution and you got a winner.  The best, (depending on your vantage point), part is that it is right smack in your face and you can't do a thing about it.

    If someone made a real to life movie about it, the UK would be so embarrassed by it they might actually have to do something.  Oh, better yet include them in the scam.

    • Anonymous says:

      "throw", not "through".

    • Union Jack says:

      It is embarrassing, but not for the UK.  As a British citizen I genuinely do not care how you mess up your territory after getting the self-governance you wanted as long as the UK does not have to pay for it.  You voted in the jokers, so thanks for the laugh. 

      No vote. No stability. No care. Simples.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually a group of small minded villagers aided by the beneficiaries of corrupt status grants that voted these idiots in – not the majority of real Caymanians.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The problem is this decentralized financial setup. Having to rely on numerous CFO and CO's from various ministries for financial information is problematic. Therefore, in retrospect, it may not necessarily be the Ministry of Finance's fault (not saying they are not ultimately responsible at the end of the day, because they are). However, I sympathize with the Ministry of Finance in having to 'hunt down' the other Ministries in order to just get the financial information, with it not necessarily being accurate. My proposal is that we need to hastily move back to a centralized financial setup. When everything passes through one central unit it allows for greater accountability, efficiency and most importantly, greater accuracy. Everything that is spent should run first run through, the Ministry of Finance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Centralize??? Ain't gonna happen.

       

      If the government centralizes its operations then there are too few phoney-baloney jobs with high phalootin titles to pass out to the cronies and stooges.

    • SSM345 says:

      17:14, go back to work Foolio.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And JuJu have time for a postal conference in the Middle East – go figure.  They sure got their priorities right.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The current breed of politicians will not want properly audited accounts – because if that ever happened, then they will never be able to hide their shenanigans under the cover of darkness and obscurity.  As long as the current system continues, look for more of the same.  And it is not just this current administration, the past one is responsible too.  The AG is just wasting his breath, and no, I don't mean the useless Attorney General's office.   Nothing will change until UK intervention.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, why did you take the easy way out and resign?  You should have stayed in there and pressed the Attorney General and the police to press charges if necessary against those responsible for this continual farce, and if the Attorney General didn't see the need to act or doesn't know who to hold accountable, then his post should be made redundant because it would really serve no purpose, and a "CLERK" from the UK appointed instead as I am sure he / she could do a much better job than the inept administration here is doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I so agree with your post.  Would love to see this guy as part of the ruling decision makers to see what he does with it.  No excuses for the present bunch but it is so much easier to be on the other side of the bench.

    • Anonymous says:

      because if you dont resign, they will blame it all on you. If the problems persist after you resign, them it can be seen as not your fault, but the players who stayed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Fire the whole lot of them !

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, fire the whole bunch of them on 13 November 2012 this is exactly one week after the USA elections.

  16. MacShambles says:

    Hey unna people. Look ova ya not ova deh.

    CHEC! Oil refining plant! Expat tax! Let's see what else I can distract unna wid…

    Just don't look at dem old audits. Cha!

  17. Anonymous says:

    easy for ezzard to say….. he quit his position when the going got tough…..

    • Devil's Advocate says:

      Clearly you do not understand what it means to be a 'Member of the Board of Directors'.

      As a Board Member / Director, you have a responsibility and indeed an obligation to provide a learned opinion with regards the direction or policy that the other members may wish to take.

      IF it is that you DO NOT AGREE with what the other members propose to do, then you are UNDER OBLIGATION TO RESIGN YOUR POST.

      If you remain, then you are complicite with the other members' actions, because a Board must have CONCENSUS to proceed.

      If you should chose to remain at the Board, then you continue to be Legally Liable for any action that the Board takes after that meeting.

  18. Richard Wadd says:

    If one of my employers could not give account for the Business' money, then the Police Financial Crimes Unit would be involved.

    WHY should our Government Employees be any different?

    With a BIG salery comes BIG responsibility.

    I agree with Mr.Miller 100%. It's about time we hold our Politicians and Government Employees accountable, and show them WHO IS REALLY THE BOSS in our islands.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, bring another vote of no confidence, those who vote against are complicit with crimes of theft and corruption on a grand scale and should be prosecuted along with mac. It is obvious his eternal honorableness is on the run, he doesnt want to be here, he is drowning his panic in casinos and bars (nice ones) around the world talking about a deal here and a deal there that are all a complete fantasy.

     

    Just get a few people who know what is going on and say "you a free from  prosecution but only if you let us know everything" Watch the dominoes fall then and watch them run to give evidence and the money back to stay out of prison.

     

    2 Billion? if that doesnt bring the UK I dont know what will. All members of the current UDP government, RESIGN NOW.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another vote of no confidence for what? You already know how the MLAs voted 

      • Anonymous says:

        Because as bad as it was then, it has gotten worse. And thank to CNS more people know about it and are angry about it and want to see something done about it instead of endless talk.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, All UDP voted against the motion:

        CG, Rolston, juju, mac, mike Adam, Eugene, mark Scotland, dwayne Seymour and foolio voted in support of the Premier despite his numerous mishaps in office

        So all of them are complicit …VOTE ACCORDINGLY

      • Anonymous says:

        So give up? enjoy your microwave. mac was supported by people complicit with the "disappearance" of 2 Billion dollars, thats a "B" buddy. Somebody, at least one, has to go to a cage

        Lets see how they vote when looking at prison

  20. Anonymous says:

    And they have the arrogance to ask us for more money

  21. Naya Boy says:

    Sorry Mr Miller the Courts office here is not large enough to hold that amount of defendants even if they narrowed it down to those incharge or responsible! Another problem is Cayman doesn't have a RICO Act :-Rackteer Influence Corrupt Organisation however we have every aspect of this present here and still employed by Government. Corruption is however natures way of restoring our faith in democracy and has never been compulsory tho many here believe it is.

  22. Anonymous says:

    JuJu has signed-up 24 new Office Attendants to work in Cayman Brac from now until May 31, 2013. Check page 325 of 2012/13 budget below.

    http://www.bmu.gov.ky/_files/file_126.pdf

     

    Between 24 of them, they should be able to determine where JuJu has been spending the money.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many temporary clerks does it take to audit the accounts of the Deputy Premier? LOL

  23. Anonymous says:

    Howis it morally/ethically aceptable, let alone possibly legal to ask for more money through various fees taxes and have no accountability for it. It's no different than giving money to a unknown vagrant asking for money in the street. . . Deplorable situation further questiuoning the sustainability of continuing to reside here,  very very sad

    • noname says:

      I'm in total shock! Is it possible for a little island with only a population of only 52,000 people, that the government can indeed spend $2 billion dollars????????

      This need an explanation! we can only take so much.

      2 billion dollars? Where did it go in the face of 4,000 grassroots Caymanians jobless??????

      Oh yeah this is serious, if what Ezard is saying is true, thenthis is really serious.

      • Annie get your gun says:

        If 4,000 Caymanians are unemployed, it is because more than 3,000 of them are UNEMPLOYABLE !

         In the last year alone I have interviewed 23 different women and 6 men for two different positions in my businesses.

         22 of the women were either incapable of doing the job, presented a bad attitude from the begining of the interview, lied on their resume or were know to be dishonest employees.

        The only one that 'fit the bill' so to speak didn't turn up for work on either the first or second day she was to. When we (finally) were able to contact her to find out what the position was with her, she told me, "Government pays me $900.00 a month to stay home with my baby, so why would I want to work (part time) for $1,600.00?

         Of the men (which was for the position of Truck Driver / Heavy Equipment Operator), NONE had the necessary qualifications or experience, 4 were under the required age minimum (this is dictated by the Insurance coverage), ALL expected to be paid at the FULL Salery while they were being trained on the job, 2 WOULDN'T work on Saturdays, and 1 said he couldn't garantee what time he could get to work because he "don't like to get up too early in the mornings".

        Let's not even begin to address the dress-code issue, or that one of them was smoking a spliff when he arrived for his interview.

         ALL were Caymanian.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It really is simple, is it not? If they cannot explain where the money is, or what happened to it, then it has been stolen/missappropriated. Theft is a crime. Faced with charges, a few might be tempted to tell what really happened to the money, or who gave instructions to transfer what where.

    Come on RCIPS, all theft is wrong, regardless of whether it is in the private or public sector…concentrating on the big thefts such as this might actually give Cayman kind some hope and possibly even save some jobs or create a budget surplus. You might even get another helicopter out of it!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    So the Premier and the Deputy Premier are the main culprits. I think it's time for another vote of no-confidence- in them both- and let's make sure that any MLA supporting these two is out of a job come May. The only reason they'd support them now is if they are complicit in Mac's shady practices.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Unless they can account for how the money was used we should assume a significant amount has been misappropriated.

    • Rorschach says:

      Incorrect.  Unless they can account for it, ALL OF IT has been misappropriated!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    If we compare the size of the government in terms of spending and employees it is no bigger than a medium sized (at best) American or European company operating with multiple divisions and subsidiaries. It really is not difficult at all to turn in accurate accounts year after year for companies that size. Why is seemingly impossible to do it here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because if they did that would make it harder to steal and not get caught, thats all this is, theft.

    • Truth says:

      Two words:  Incompetence and corruption.