Fraud uncovered during turtle farm audit

| 20/09/2018
Cayman News Service

The Cayman Turtle Centre

(CNS) UPDATED: An employee of the Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre Ltd, also known as the turtle farm has been arrested and suspended from their job after more financial irregularities were discovered during the facility’s 2016/17 audit. Management issued a very short statement on Wednesday evening stating about the latest scandal, which has been reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission and triggered an investigation. The news follows the firing of another employee in May after the same audit also uncovered what was described then as a theft of significant sums.

Officials have revealed very little about the latest fraud at the beleaguered facility, though in clarifying the statement officials confirmed that the incident is not related to the theft which was reported earlier this year but is related to the same audit time frame which is still ongoing. The RCIPS have also confirmed that the investigation into the theft report in May continues but no one has been arrested in the case despite a worker being fired.

In the statement released by the centre about this recent scandal Tim Adam, the managing director, was reluctant to reveal the details.

“This irregularity was referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission,” Adam stated. “The investigation is ongoing, and arrests have been made including one CTCEC employee who has been suspended. The Management of CTCEC will continue to liaise with the relevant authorities pursuing this matter. So as not to jeopardize the proper conduct of the investigation, that is as much as we can state to the public at this time.”

The Cayman Turtle Centre continues to suck a considerable amount of public funds from the treasury each year to cover the ongoing loan for the re-development of the old farm  — some 14 years after the groundbreaking — and to plug losses in running costs. According to the National Tourism Plan, the Turtle Centre is suffering from significant overcrowding at peak times on busy cruise ship days but appears to have major problems attracting visitors at other times.

The continued audit problems, financial irregularities, complaints about human resource management and the campaigns by animal rights activists against the facility’s core activity of breeding the turtles for meat continues to cause controversy for the farm.

This season, however, the CTC made some further advances in conservation. In addition to the hatchling release programme, it is also conducting a translocation project, where eggs laid by the centre’s breeding turtles are ‘re-nested’ around Grand Cayman’s beaches.

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Category: Crime

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