ACC chair says unit busier than ever

| 06/02/2019 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

Richard Coles

(CNS): The Anti-Corruption Commission will need more investigators if the number of reports continues at current levels, according to ACC Chair Richard Coles, a former attorney general of the Cayman Islands. He told the Public Accounts Committee last week that the ACC could proceed with more cases if his team was doubled to match the doubling of reporting in the latest budget period, as they are sometimes dealing with very complex investigations that require a great deal of manpower.

He warned that in some cases reports are not being made to the ACC until things are at an advanced stage, as he questioned whether senior civil servants were just “signing off” on things without properly checking. 

He said the fact that reports are being made indicated that the ACC enjoyed the confidence of the public, and that the commission is too busy to initiate its own investigations as they work to keep on top of the reports that are coming in.

But he voiced concerns that reports are being made to the commission very late in the day and members have been considering why they are not being made sooner. Coles said there was a supervisory structure in the civil service but it may not always be followed, with management clearing things without probing.

He said that if they were more alert, issues might be picked up sooner and dissuade people from corrupt or fraudulent behaviour in public office. 

“One of the areas we have noticed …in the matters we have investigated, is that generally these matters get reported and come to light at far too an advanced stage,” he told PAC, noting that many cases come to the ACC from the auditor general or the Internal Audit Unit. “Many of these matters should be picked up a lot earlier than that.”

Part of the problem, he suggested, was that while the public service has a lot of supervisory structure, the supervision is not always being done.

“When superior officers are required to sign off …they are just signing off and they are not actually probing into whether they should be signing off, and if more of that happened, these would get picked up earlier,” he said, adding that these matters would be “nipped into the bud quicker …and perhaps persuade people from carrying out these activities”.

According to the ACC’s annual report, at the end of 2018 the commission was actively investigating 14 cases, after a busy 18 months in which it concluded three cases, transferred ten cases to other law enforcement departments and dismissed another 14 cases that did not meet the remit or threshold for investigation.

See the latest report in the CNS Library or on the ACC website

See Coles appear before PAC below on CIGTV

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Category: Crime, Government oversight, Politics, Private Sector Oversight

Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Go to Vehicle Licensing and they’ll pass you for $100. Ever wondered at those rust-buckets on the road?

    • Anonymous says:

      3:07 I always thought turning up early with coffee and donuts was all you needed – always works for me.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    If you get rid of all corruption in Cayman what do you have left? Think about it.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The ACC is not even handed in its approach to cases reported. They are going after the small fish but protecting the older and senior members of government who are clearly engaging in illegal activity/corrupt behavior. The ACC does not investigate any matters that can be potentially embarrassing for the government where it involves senior civil servants and even political figures. They do not seem to realize that corruption does not always involve financial gain by the perpetrators. There is very worrying behavior by senior members in certain government departments including the Immigration Department. The ACC needs to be audited. It needs to be overseen.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Definitely fake news if you are talking about Cayman Brac/Little Cayman. Name me one politician or one civil servant who is benefitting from any corrupt deals, such as developing land/roads or has contracts with government – that somehow benefits them.

    No ACC needed for us over here – everything being done above board and with the highest standard of integrity.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except if a Govt official e.g. an MLA, gives away goods or services to Brackers paid for from Govt. funds, and who is looking for re-election a little later…….?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Why do Lodge people keep getting these sweet jobs? WHY?

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  6. Winifred says:

    Just a thought, but perhaps the trouble with alerting the ACC earlier in the trail of events (which Mr Coles would like) is that the perpetrator hasn’t yet had enough rope to hang himself, and might be allowed off the hook if the scale of the corruption is still small. Whereas the ACC can move in when there is good evidence at the later stage (hopefully).

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  7. anonymous says:

    The real concern relates to Mr Coles’ comments that a lot of the corruption in the Civil Service is not identified by supervisors. Either they are not doing their job, or something more sinister is involved. To those who cannot understand the need for more manpower you do not understand the scale of this fraud which has been going on for yers and only now is being addressed.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    8:30 pm: I think that the remit of the ACC is for public sector only–as far as I know, does not extend to the private sector.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The ACC office needs to investigate the long and troubling relationship between Lands and Survey, Cabinet, and Dart via DRCL’s various proxy companies. Why is there nobody in any of these “trusted” government departments raising their hands when “DART” pays millions above the CIG’s own asking prices? For what purpose of paying millions over-asking, and where did those funds go?

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    • Anonymous says:

      We do not need to be wasting any money or time with these witch hunts. Dart & companies are only helping our island. We need to be very grateful and respectful to them for all they have done and help them out instead of all this nonsense. Hurry up Mr Dart & get CHEC in so you can get the port moving and get us lower construction costs. Whoever does not like it can just leave, we don’t need that kind of person around here anyway.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh good grief, give it up – you don’t sound either Caymanian or expat. Must be from the Peking Troll factory

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      • Anonymous says:

        DartBot we know your species!

        Dart is the big shark in the small pond gobbling and devouring any independent thinking Caymanian.

        Dart even tried to destroy a coffee shop.

        It is only a matter of time before Dart will start being a roadside coconut water vendor.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    He has been very busy pushing a pile of paper from the left side of his desk to the right side. And back again. Don’t forget the back again.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Fraud is rampant everywhere on this island. too many back door deal kick backs in all industries. Cash stipends given to students who are overseas “playing sports” that do not play. all because of some entitlement and thought of power.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He’s gonna need more staff for sure if a certain foreign company is awarded the Port construction contract….follow the money .

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Large numbers of private sector fraudsters get caught. They are allowed (by their victims) to quietly leave. That is a shame, but no corruption is involved.

    When a government worker commits a fraud that is a different thing from a corruption perspective.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are entire Ministries of staff wholly complicit-by-necessity in ongoing multi-million dollar frauds and impropriety, that have been told (recently) they’ll loose their jobs if they dare to blow the whistle – despite the whistleblower laws enacted to protect their right to do so without career repercussions. The morality of this land is perverted by our corrupt regimes where our people either don’t know, or can’t say out of fear, what’s right anymore – even when it is their civic duty to do so.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The numbers don’t match up Coles. A full team of investigators with a case load of 14 and you need more staff. Really!!!

    I just read on CNS of a private sector worker stealing huge amounts of money over many years. So we are we going to blame her managers for not picking up the fraud or focus on convicting the fraudester, It’s called fraud for a reason.

    Stop the excuses.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the managers share some of the blame if they are not properly vetting the things they sign off on

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