UK cop reveals weakness in Bridger probe

| 24/05/2016 | 19 Comments
Cayman News Service

Martin Bridger, SIO of Operation Tempura

(CNS): A British police officer who was part of the controversial internal police enquiry, Operation Tempura, has revealed that an investigation of its lead officer, Martin Bridger, which held up an FOI request for years, was nothing more than a “scoping exercise”. After Bridger filed a number of complaints about how Tempura was handled and claimed he was misled by key UK officials, he supposedly became the subject of a live RCIPS enquiry that has been ongoing for almost three years.

However, it appears that little genuine investigating, if any, has ever taken place, despite claims made by the governor’s office in the courts.

Last Friday John Kemp, one of the original Tempura investigators, called Radio Cayman’s morning talk show, For the Record, hosted by Orett Connor, and said that he had recently met with two RCIPS officers who came to London to talk to him about the Bridger enquiry. But the officers appeared to know next to nothing about the original Tempura case and had not read any of the papers related to it, which are all in the hands of officials in Cayman, including reports and minutes which documented the costly probe, he said.

Kemp said the officers did not seem to have any evidence of wrongdoing by Bridger and asked him if he felt Bridger had done anything wrong. The officers told him they were conducting a “scoping exercise” rather than an actual investigation, he said, which meant that some three years after the probe had allegedly begun, the RCIPS was only now carrying out a preparatory exercise to see if there was any evidence to support a genuine enquiry rather than actually conducting one.

He said the two officers took no statements and did not ask any specific questions that would indicate that they had any real suspicions or evidence that Bridger’s behavior had fallen short of what was expected of him.

And yet this was supposed to be a genuine investigation that had been raised in the courts on a number of occasions by the governor’s office to justify stopping the disclosure of the freedom of information request surrounding some of Bridger’s complaints about the original Tempura probe.

After some four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the Information Commissioner’s Office, which ordered the release of the documents in question, they were finally released in February, though parts were redacted due to this alleged enquiry into Bridger.

Accusations have reportedly been made about Bridger’s misconduct in a public office and a number of other unspecified offences in relation to the entire investigation. But Bridger himself has still not been interviewed and Acting Information Commissioner Jan Liebaers has said he will revisit the redactions, which were allowed in his latest decision on the Tempura report, noting that the investigation was dragging on without end to try and prevent its release.

Police Commissioner David Baines, who had rejected various complaints by Bridger, was reportedly the one who had directed the enquiry against Bridger. However, he is leaving his post at the end of this month, which might mean that, almost a decade after the whole saga started, the case will be dropped and the Cayman Islands can finally stop footing the bill for the country’s costliest police probe.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I would venture to suggest that Mr. Kemp is in no position to be able to judge what the officers who visited him do or do not know. The fact that they didn’t actually reveal very much to him would tend to indicate that they were looking to begin looking at his involvement as a scoping exercise and had a specific brief to try to engage and let Mr. Kemp talk to them rather than they set out exactly what their aims were. In fact all this highlights, I believe, is that Mr. Kemp is rather out of touch with methods of investigation that may be being employed by the current team. Something I rather hope he wasn’t when carrying out his part in Tempura.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets hope the new COP breaks the shredder and throws it all in the bin and gets on with the more important issue of hiring decent cops who can read and put put than one syllabu together in there written reports

  3. Anonymous says:

    It would seem that everyone whoever touched this has got something to say or something to hide, and that confidence in the RCIPS, UK police and various individuals is shot. Why dont they just hand over all files to the International Criminal Court, and let them do an independent review, and question witnesses and come to a conclusion for once and all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone say who was the guest on the talk show the day Kemp called. What was the guest response to the caller.

  5. John Evans says:

    Interesting criticism from someone who made £407 a day out of Tempura then left the Cayman Islands having achieved absolutely. He was also one of the team that landed CIG with a bill for over $2 million to settle the fallout from the Henderson arrest.

    I was one of the first (possibly the first) interviewed during this investigation and John Kemp’s comments are nonsense. I met with the two officers involved in London on 19 April and it was clear that they’d only come to the UK after extensive research into available documentation had failed to provide answers to some fairly serious outstanding questions. During my meeting it appeared they were well briefed and highly motivated.

    Briefly, the investigation was looking for evidence that would stand up in court proving that the private contractors employed to handle the bulk of the work on Tempura/Cealt had abused the terms of their contracts and claimed money to which they were not entitled. My opinions on this are well documented but even I have to concede there’s no actual proof that anyone received payments they were not entitled to.

    The obvious problem is in proving something like this over seven years after the event and, whatever we may feel, I don’t think any hard evidence exists. If there was any wrongdoing (and I’m not suggesting here that there was) Kemp and his colleagues have got away with it.

    In fact the big problem with this investigation is that thanks to Alistair Swarbrick’s decision (apparently backed by the FCO) not to complete Dan Duguay’s 2009 Tempura/Cealt audit any evidence that might have been usable remains secret. Swarbrick ignored material I had obtained from a number of sources including the Met suggesting the original audit had been compromised and the FCO position on this was ‘he’s got better things to do’. You’re going to have to form your own conclusions about what was going on here.

    Anyway, while John Kemp is talking to the media maybe someone should ask him about his role in the investigation. As I understand it his specialist area is IT and communication – in popular parlance he’s a hacker. So John exactly what did you do for Martin Bridger in the Cayman Islands?

    • John Evans says:

      Sorry that should read, ‘then left the Cayman Islands having achieved absolutely nothing.’

    • anonymous says:

      This tempura stuff is so Meta… investigations into investigations of Investigations into investigations. Whats at the bottom of all those investigations? Don’t ask silly questions… its investigations all the way down!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yet there are still people supporting CoP Baines?!?!?! The Governor needs to leave also. She has been a disappointment.

    • Pit Bull says:

      They have done a good job for Queen and Country in challenging circumstances which were generated by the ungrateful.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll leave the Queen out of it, but this saga is entirely a matter of Incompetence at best, and lying at worst, on the part of UK agencies charged with the police and prosecutorial functions. It’s hard to put a finger on anything that could be called a good job since Tempura started. Even running Bush out, which could have deserved accolades, was bungled to the point that litigation has ensued which will cost Cayman millions more in legal fees before it is resolved. It’s seldom that you see inept ass-covering on such a scale outside of Yorkshire.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So there are police looking into this and the redactions seem well founded. Makes the orders to produce the report all the more unseemly.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:05 Why? There was nothing in it worth reading and anyway how do you know the redactions were well founded – Troll!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sounds as if the court was repeatedly misled into believing there was a genuine investigation underway. Sounds also like attempts are just now being made to activate the investigation because the ruse of carrying one out is no longer needed after the fight with the ICO was lost. So they now have to take an equally long period of time finding no grounds to prosecute Bridger to cover for their earlier deceit. Quite pathetic conduct on the part of multiple parties, including the one party that always knows the truth: the Governor.

    • Anyone says:

      Ummm , this sounds familiar. Seems like that’s all this administration has been doing is covering up stuff and dragging things out.

      Aren’t there a number of Police Officers on suspension, but for some odd reason or another their cases have been dragged on for lengthy times. If I’m not mistaken there’s one that’s been on paid suspension for over three years and no end in sight.

      Seems like they all trying to jump ship before the handcuffs go on them for abuse of office.

      The government better do something quick or they gonna be paying out a lot of money in lawsuits as well as the persons involved having to personally pay something themselves. There’s been a lot of evidence gathered for the defense lawyers and these Officers are just waiting for the prosecutors to set the court dates, but for some reason they won’t.

      Maybe if these administrators, prosecutors and the DPP were forced to pay for these unbsurd and false prosecutions then they would rethink things. I don’t think it’s fair for these islands to have to pay for an individual’s personal vendettas and opinions.

  9. Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

    UK, FCO and Governor’s office, HOLD YOUR HEADS IN SHAME!!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    If true this is disgusting….lies, lies and more lies…

  11. Anonymous says:

    UK Wastage on Cayman Islands Tax Payers expense……….for years and years and years.

    And the UK beats their gums everyday talking about good governance, transparency and anti-corruption efforts in the British Overseas Territories.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sickening that regional pen pushers can try to interfere with a police investigation like this.

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