CINICO fails to comply with FOI law

| 13/06/2013

micky.JPG(CNS): Despite upholding CINICO’s decision not to release their unaudited financial statements for the financial year ending 2012, the information commissioner said the government’sinsurance company repeatedly failed to comply with the law during the latest open records request dispute. Jennifer Dilbert said that throughout the course of the request, investigation and hearing discussed in her 30th decision, CINICO “repeatedly contravened the provisions of the FOI Law”, as well as the policies and procedures of her office. She said that from request to hearing, there were delays and noncompliance “at almost every step of the process”.

The applicant was seeking a copy of CINICO’s financial statements for 2011/12 and even though under the terms of the Public Management and Finance Law they should now be a public document, Dilbert upheld CINICO’s decision to defer the release until the accounts have been audited and tabled in the Legislative Assembly or until a reasonable time period had elapsed.

However, in this latest ruling Dilbert highlighted the procedural failures from start to finish and said that most seriously, “contrary to the requirements of section 7(5)” of the law both the information manager and the principal officer failed to provide the applicant with reasons for withholding the responsive record, and it was not until well into the appeal that the reasons were provided.

Dilbert recorded that the timeallowed by law to conduct an internal review was exceeded and records were only provided to her office after many delays and repeated prompting, and a submission giving CINICO’s views in writing, as required under section 43, was not provided by the date agreed in the Notice of Hearing.

“A submission was forthcoming only after I personally informed them that as the burden of proof lies with the public authority to show that it acted in accordance with its obligations under the Law, I would order the record released if they did not provide same. Computer issues were cited as the reason for the delay, which was verified by their IT service providers,” she stated.

The full decision and the catalogue of failures by CINICO from 20 November, when the statutory authority denied access to the requested records without giving any reasons under the FOI Law, through to 29 April of this year, when Dilbert wrote to CINICO to say that she was ordering the release of the documents if she did not receive submissions by 1 May, are posted below.

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  1. Anon says:

    No I can’t believe a Gowermint statutory body with employes paid by the people of Cayman are in breach. Only in a banana republic can this occur and there are no consequences.