Tempura conflicts lead back to AG chambers

| 15/05/2014

(CNS): The former lead officer on the costly and controversial Operation Tempura internal police investigation has pointed the finger at the Attorney General’s Chamber as the source of many of the conflicts, problems and anomalies that surrounded the corruption probe. Martin Bridger, who is increasingly speaking out about his time heading the investigation, is also one of a growing number of voices associated with the discredited investigation calling for a full public enquiry. The senior investigating officer has pointed to a number of concerns that call into question decisions made and advice given by the government lawyer's offices.

From the details surrounding the arrest of Rudy Dixon, who was police deputy commissioner at the time, and the arrest of Grand Court Judge Alex Henderson, to the employment of a UK lawyer and exactly what the governor at the time, Stuart Jack, did or did not know, Bridger said the truth is still the main casualty in the fallout from Tempura.

Speaking to CNS this week in the wake of his appearance at the OffshoreAlert conference in Miami, where Bridger was part of a panel discussion on the probe, he said the only way the truth will come out about Tempura would be via an independent and open public enquiry. Bridger has become considerably more candid about events in recent months as he emerges as the latest scapegoat from the entire botched operation and related legal issues.

Bridger complained to Scotland Yard about the events of Tempura, and although the London police force found the need for a criminal investigation, nothing happened. Conflicted as a result of its oversight of Tempura at the beginning of the investigation, Scotland Yard passed Bridger’s complaint to the FCO, which passed it to the governor at the time, Duncan Taylor, who passed it to Police Commissioner David Baines.

Baines is now in possession of that complaint and the advice of the Met stating there should be a police enquiry about the original police enquiry but he has yet to comment on whether or not he will investigate.

Bridger appeared in Miami alongside the former Cayman Islands auditor general, Dan Duguay, who also came across many barriers to the truth during his attempt to audit the costly probe, and John Evans, a former Cayman Net News reporter involved in the original allegations that triggered the probe.

During the panel session Bridger set out a number of details about the enquiry and for the first time publicly he pointed out that the arrest of the former deputy police commissioner, Rudolph Dixon, by the Tempura team was made based on the same offence and in the same way as that of Justice Alex Henderson. However, the arrest of Henderson was ruled unlawful during a judicial review by visiting judge, Sir Peter Cresswell.

Bridger explained that although the attorney general had conceded during the Henderson review that the judge’s arrest was unlawful, he did not draw the same conclusion over the Dixon arrest, even though the circumstances were the same. Not only did he allow the Tempura team to go on to charge the senior cop, but his Chambers represented the team at Dixon’s trial on misconduct charges, where he was ultimately acquitted by a jury.

At no point did anyone from the government lawyer’s office ever suggested the case had to be stopped in light of the Henderson finding.

“On the day of his arrest Dixon made an application for habeas corpus to the chief justice,” Bridger explained. “Neither the chief justice, the solicitor general, who represented us in those court proceedings, nor the attorneys for Dixon or our independent legal adviser question, at any time, the legality of the arrest … The prosecution file was reviewed by legal officers within the Attorney General’s Chambers. They recommended that Dixon be prosecuted for the offence of Misconduct in a Public Office.”                                

Bridger also notes that as part of a complaint made by Justice Henderson against Martin Polaine was over his eligibility to practive law in Cayman. However, the appointment of Polaine, the second lawyer on the Tempura team who replaced Andre MonDesir, was sanctioned by the AG’s office, which never informedBridger that he would need to be called to the Cayman Bar.

When Bridger was sued by Stuart Kernohan, the former police commissioner and major casualty of Tempura, he was directed by the Attorney General’s Chambers to conduct his defence in a certain way, he claims. The legal department, he was told, would then continue to represent him because the suit related to Bridger’s time as an employee of CIG. However, the AG withdrew his representation when Bridger filed his first complaint about the investigation. This is the document that remains part of an ongoing legal battle between the Information Commissioner's Office and the Office of the Cayman Islands Governor.

The biggest allegation of all, however, that Bridger now continues to make against the attorney general is that his office knew all about the controversial entry into Cayman Net News by John Evans and fellow journalist Lyndon Martin looking for evidence of corruption within the police.

Bridger says that he was never informed by the Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, then governor Stuart Jack or Larry Covington, the FCOs regional adviser security advisor, that they had been briefed about the planned covert entry into the newspaper offices. However, both Kernohan and John Jones, a senior ranking police officer who was suspended at the same time as Kernohan, and have stated in sworn evidence in court when they were presented as crown witnesses of truth, as well as in other forum, that they had briefed their UK bosses. Kernohan is also believed to have documented evidence to prove it.

Since Bridger went public about not being told that the three UK officials may have known all about the entry, the former governor and the attorney general have both denied knowing about or approving Kernohan’s operational decision. Covington, meanwhile, remains as silent as ever on all matters.

Bridger believes the best way to find out who is telling the truth and why documents are really being covered up is for an independentpublic enquiry so the people of Cayman who have footed the bill for the costly probe, which has raised far more questions, problems and concerns that it ever answered, will understand where their tax dollars went and why.

He is backed by Duguay, Cayman’s former auditor general, who also encountered many problems when he attempted to audit the probe.

Duguay told CNS that he supported the call for a public enquiry, not least because the people of the Cayman Islands deserve and should know how much the investigation and its resultant processes have cost.

“The recent settlement with former Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan is a good example,” he said of the money being spent in secret. “Despite this being settled, the amount has not been disclosed. The people of the Cayman Islands have been asked to pay the bill and haven't even been told how much the bill is The use of such 'confidential agreements' are inappropriate in a democratic society. A public enquiry would also update the other costs of this investigation and would do a proper accounting of all the costs related to Tempura and Cealt.”

In a value for money report published in 2007 regarding Hurricane Ivan, Duguay had already warned the CIG about confidentiality agreements involving public money. He recommended that legislators make a clear resolution banning the use of confidentiality clauses unless there is a clear and genuine national security threat in not doing so. 

Despite this issue, CIG has in the seven years since that report continued to enter into such agreements for many reasons, including the ones surrounding Operation Tempura, where no such threats exist.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let's hear about the high ranking Politician that claimed he met with the investigators in a certin parking along West Bay rd. to add fuel to the fire.

    Thats what's wrong with this investigation, people desperatly tried to carve out a name for themselves as high and mighty, and they are not, never will be, now we all are paying the price. POLITRX ***********************************

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'd suggest that anyone following this sorry saga reads a book by Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn called 'Untouchables: Dirty cops, bent justice and racism in Scotland Yard.'

    It gives a disturbing insight into the background of at least three key players involved in Tempura. Chapter 17 is particularly interesting.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Chasing down corruption in high office is extremely difficult.

    No one really knows who is straight and who is bent.

    The straight people must work within the law when they are chasing corruption.

    The bent people are free to lie and plant false evidence as they hide their corrupt activities.

    The bottom line? We, the public, will probably never know the real truth. Some of the straight investigators will have their lives destroyed by the lies and planted false evidence.

    However, I support a full enquiry. The surviving straight people should not give up.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We definitely need a public inquiry into how someone ended up getting paid £787 a day for a year while achieving absolutely nothing except running up $millions in costs.

    According to Evans at the Offshore Alert Conference, Bridger's team had concluded that all the complaints against Seales and Ennis were false as early as November 2007. Despite this, and according to a comment he's posted elsewhere, they were still apparently investigating Kernohan and Jones a year later.   

    • Diogenes says:

      The irony being that they were investigating them for the actions committed by Evans and Martin, the latter being the man who started the accustaion against Seales and Ennis, and the former being the guy who was actively assisting the Tempura enquiry.  And lets not get started on why Henderson was arrested.  To listen to Evans and Bridger you would think they are the poor innocent victims here.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tempura had fantastic results in terms of intelligence, just the full scope of Tempura cannot be revealed to the public, because the value of the intelligence would be undermined by publicity. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this supposed to be a joke?  "Fantastic results in terms of ntelligence"?  

      I know that Bridger was going around districts in public meetings listening to all sorts of allegations from people he had no idea about and in circumstances he had no way of discerning truth from fiction.

      With his record of rushing to judgement without adequate evidence and legal rectitude, I am sure that were any of it even feintly supportable, he would have rushed to get some "results" to sustain his tenure here.  That was the whole objective, wasn't?  And to think that he almost destroyed our law enforcement and judicial rep as part of this devious plan.  

      Thank God for some of the resistance — such as from the  Judiciary that stood up to him, while everyone else was, in our true Caymanian fashion, caving to the Britishy knight in shining armor.

      I don't know about the rest of you, but Bridger and his report have lost all credibility by me.  

      Spent more money! How much more crazy can we get?

      Enough already!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree here that an independent public enquiry is needed. Especially as Mr. Dugauy also thinks so!

    There simply seems like way too much of a "cover up" surrounding this entire debacle!


  7. John Evans says:

    After Lyndon Martin's trial in September 2009 I posted a comment on this whole farce. You can find it at – http://centos6-httpd22-php56-mysql55.installer.magneticone.com/o_belozerov/31115drupal622/viewpoint/2009/09/12/operation-tempura/

    Although you might not realise it from this story, I shared the Miami presentation with Dan Duguay and Martin Bridger. With due resect to both gentlemen, I was the person who started the calls for a public inquiry in 2009 and whilst their support is very welcome I could have done with it several years ago. I have also made numerous requests, backed up by evidence that has been ignored, for the 2009 Tempura/Cealt audit to be completed wthout any noticeable support from Messrs Duguay and Bridger. In fact over the years my hard work and numerous FOI requests are really all that has kept Tempura from being quietly buried.  

    The phrase 'climbing on the bandwagon' comes to mind here. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would be very interested to know from Mr. Evans why he choose to believe his then boss who was well known to be liberal with facts and prone to embelishment? Had he simply treated the comment implying an inside connection to the RCIPS as he would a similar comment from Joe Public, it is very likely that none ofthis would have happened.

    • John Evans says:

      If you are going to slag me off at least let us know your name. Hiding behind anonymity like this is the coward's way.

      As I'm sure you know I never started any of this. The original allegations were made by a serving MLA and a former MLA, I didn't know anything about them until much later on. We'll never know whyDesmond identified Ennis to me as his source but the fact remains that he did and he did it long after all the other allegations had been lodged wih RCIPS. Best bet is he already knew what was going on and did it to throw fuel on the fire.

      Where I do fault myself is for not doing any background checks on the people brought in to conduct the investigation and that I took their integrity on trust. If I knew then a fraction of what I know now Tempura would have been blown wide open within days.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well maybe you should have read the book that poster 6:55 mentioned and that would have helped.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        Lots of people hear rumours and allegations.  Not all of them then decide to enter someone else office and rummage around to see if they – or indeed other rumors and allegations -are true, or spend the next several months wining and dining with police offices spinning out the tale even after they have found absolutely nothing to substantiate them. You may have escaped criminal charges because you did not break and enter, but most people would find the concept that you enter someone else's office without their permission, or proper legal authority and have a good old fashioned rummage around extremely offensive and simply wrong.  Did it not occur to you that if the police could not obtain a warrant for that exercise there must be a fundamental problem with it?  

        Never started any of it – took a conscious step to get it off the ground, and sure did a hell of a lot to sustain it, and to now run around saying there has to be a public enquiry and somehow hold yourself out as the voice of rightousness is remarkable.  How you can even appear on the same stage as Martin Bridger without a single critical word against him yet insist that Tempura should have been "blown wide open"  is breathtaking.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. He should also have been slapped with a burglary charge for  breaking into the man's office. If he did not do that, none of the subsequent debacle would have occured.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have spent enough Bridger!  A junior investigator knows that one does not go about arresting people before investigating and you came here like you were God on a white horse.  However, like Balaam on the Jackass, you failed to see the angel with the sword.  Look at poor old Burmon Scott.  You all humiliated him by arresting him and incarcerating him for days when all you had to do was simply ask him to tell you what happened after which you could have gone and evaluated it against known facts.  Now you want Cayman to spend more money to hold another hearing.  Man, you really irk me as a citizen of this country.  You really have some audacity.  You cared nothing for the truth until it was your fat in the fire. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a ridiculous notion – spending millions more on a public enquiry to find out what happened to the original millions.  Forget it.  It will come out in time.

  11. Voice of reason says:

    In most other countries with a similar standard of living as Cayman, people who make a major mistake at the head of a company, in public office, in government, etc., have the good grace to resign after their costly/embarassing/negligent/dangerous/conflicted/unethical/corrupt/self-serving mistakes. If they don't, the public calls for their resignation, their position becomes untennable and they are forced out or forced to leave.

    Here – nothing! They incompetant and arrogant keep plodding on with their useless crap performances. Even when the public does bray and rant – nothing happens.

    My advice and wish: that the Cayman public (that means everyone who is affected, locals, expats and visitors) learns to protest more effectively, embrace fairness and transparacy and demand the head of those useless, ineffective, negligent people in public office. Public office refers to a position held to serve the public/the people, and the people should have the right to demand the removal of the offender.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yes, spending another $5-$10m on a public inquiry will make this all better.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Are there any surprises here! We have known for a while that we need a new AG, and i wish for Sam that he would have left, whilst he could, with his head held high.  This is the dilema that we face as a country and as a people.  Once you are in these positions (including the head of CIMA, the CJ, the AG etc) and you are Caymanian, you are apparently there for life! it provents us moving these persons out of the post when they no longer serve as the best choice for the position.  They may well have served well at some point in their posts, but that doesnt mean that they will serve well in these posts indefinately.  Time moves on and so should they.

    • Anonymous says:

      08:58:  To which " head of CIMA" do you refer? Board Chairman or Managing Director?  The current Chairman of CiIMA was involved with this matter but we are not aware of any involvement by the current Managing Director.

    • Anonymous says:

      To "There are no surprises here," posted 8:58 on Thursday: your post may also fit very nicely into that post.  You obviously don't understand how important it is to safeguard the administration of justice when you class the CJ among those who should fall prey to your suggested "moving … out of the post."  

      Sure, there are any number of persons who are unhappy with judgements from the courts — someone will inevitably lose.  

      But if every time someone is displeased we allow that to reflect on the tenure of the judiciary think about what a threat that could be to the independence of the judiciary in delivering judgments.

      And by the way, Bridger obviously has an axe to grind with the CJ because it was he, the Chief Justice, who foiled  Bridger's attempt to get a search warrant to search Kernohan's Office.  I am sure he was mightily miffed at the temerity.  Ultimately, events revealed that the Chief Justice was proven right (not that there was a doubt) and Bridger in a lot of hot water!  

      Beyond that, Remember Bridger going around to districts to try to learn about "endemic corruption," widening his reach well beyond the original remit?  And terminating aspects of his job ties in the UK?  And all those trips back and forth with family, etc?  

      Thankfully, Bridger's dream of a cushy indefinite job came crashing down, and more, around him.

      I have heard enough of Bridger and need learn nothing more about this ill conceived affair, at the further cost of the country.

      I just want Bridger to go away.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve failed to show any sensible reason why these persons should be removed from office. Try again; to help avoid you muddling up your words again: use bullet points