Archive for June 23rd, 2014

Anti-corruption law limited

Anti-corruption law limited

| 23/06/2014 | 10 Comments

(CNS): The recent successful prosecution of the former deputy chair of the National Housing and Development Trust has demonstrated that the anti-corruption law is considerably more limited that legislators had originally envisioned. Although Edlin Myles was found guilty on seven counts of deception in relation to fraudulently selling insurance policies to applicants of the Trust, the 62-year-old former board director was not prosecuted under the law that was designed to cover people in government positions. Although Myles was able to access his victims because of his position on the board the crown could not define him as a public official under the current law.

Although Myles was originally arrested under sections 13 and 17 of the Anti-Corruption Law 2010 for breach of trust and abuse of public as well as the common law deception offences, the charges under the anti-corruption law were all dropped. During his direction to the jury last week, Justice Alex Henderson pointed out to the jury that while they make have felt Myles misused his position on the board to fraudulently sell the policies, the judge impressed upon them that they could not find him guilty because of that as no conflict or abuse of office charges had been laid against Myles. 

The now demonstrable limitations of the legislation have raised considerable concerns and some government officials, who do not wish to be name,d have has stated that the legislation must be revised as it is not fit for purpose.

The legislation is based on a number of anti-corruption laws used in other jurisdictions but was never localized to fit the Cayman context and in particular the use of private sector and volunteer directors on government company and statutory authority boards

When the law was implemented in 2010, the attorney general released a statement warning all board directors and others working with government that they would be subject to the new legislation. Samuel Bulgin had pointed specifically to people serving on government and statutory boards and said it would have a significant impact on them from potential conflicts of interest to abuse of office.

However, it appears that the government’s top lawyer was wrong.

The Myles case has highlighted the limitations of the law. It appears that board directors who are not directly employed by government and paid only expenses or a stipend are not covered by the legislation, leaving all of government’s companies and authorities, from Cayman Airways and the Turtle Farm to the Airport and the Health Services Authority, vulnerable to corrupt officials. While the civil servants sitting on boards and the employees of the government companies and authorities appear to be covered, anyone from the private sector who is appointed to a board need have no concern about the law applying to them until it is revised.

CNS has contacted the Cabinet for comment on the situation, which appears to boil down to problems with the definition of a public official. However, as yet there has been no comment on its position regarding the law, which was originally touted as a success for good governance but which in practice is proving to be unfit for purpose. 

See related stories on CNS:

Top lawyer warns boards about anti-corruption law

Civil servants need anti-corruption training

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Cops clamp down on booze and drug fuelled crime

Cops clamp down on booze and drug fuelled crime

| 23/06/2014 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Underage drinkers, drinking and driving, illegal gambling and numerous other petty crime and anti-social behaviour were at the centre of a number of targeted operations by the RCIPS this month. Concerned about the recent increase of anti-social criminal behaviour, the police began a proactive operation on 6 June to prevent and detect criminal activity, traffic offences, illegal gambling and breaches by liquor licensed premises. During a two week period people were arrested for drugs and weapons offences as well as theft and DUI, while dozens of drivers were ticketed for traffic infractions.

Between 6 and 19 June officers arrested one person in possession of a large quantity of ganja with intent to supply, four others on suspicion of possession of ganja, one for possession of drug utensils and possession of a prohibited weapon. Two people were arrested separately for theft of a motor vehicle and two suspected stolen motorbikes were recovered. Three suspects were also arrested for going equipped to steal.

Meanwhile, two drivers were arrested for DUI, another for driving without insurance and sixteen people were ticketed for using a mobile telephone while driving. Seven tickets were handed out for other minor traffic offences and one driver was also fined for using a vehicle with a tint darker than the legal limit.

Police are also clamping down on underage drinking. Two females, aged 16 and 17, were found at a bar on the West Bay Road, and while there was no evidence that they were consuming or purchasing intoxicating liquor, they were warned and they left the premises. The licensee of the premises was warned for allowing persons under the age of 18 to be in a bar. 

“Our officers are extremely dedicated and committed to making our communities a safe place to live, work and visit, and we will continue to support the other operational strategies in bringing all resources to bear on tackling criminal activities and quality-of-life issues,” an RCIPS spokesperson stated. “We know, however, that we can’t do this without the help and support of the community, the media and other civic groups, and we appeal to all to continue supporting your local police and report criminal or suspicions activities.”

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Spammers hide behind CAL e-mail

Spammers hide behind CAL e-mail

| 23/06/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): The national flag carrier is issuing a warning to local internet users that spammers are using what appears to be its email to send out electronic messages to unsuspecting customers that contains a link to a Microsoft Word document hosted on a foreign website which could be damaging if opened. The subject line used by the spammers is “Appointment” Cayman Airways stated in its alert, and it appears to have been sent from Arthur Paul on behalf of Cayman Airways Express. “Recipients of this potentially malicious email should delete it immediately upon receipt,” an airline spokesperson stated.

“The email signature and the link contained in the email have been constructed so as to appear to be from Cayman Airways, but have no real association with the airline whatsoever,” CAL added, as it urged everyone to watch out for the fraudulent mail and to delete it.

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