Pension offences back in court

The matter concerning the non-payment of pensions brought against Scott Henderson and two companies related to him – Cayman Flooring and Kitchen Specialists Ltd. and Office Pavilion Ltd – was back in Court Wednesday.

The cases, which are the first prosecuted by the National Pensions Office, were heard by Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale.

With regard to the corporate entities, the matter was set down for sentencing Wednesday after guilty pleas were entered in November.

However, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards said there was some dispute over the quantum of the pension payments owed in arrears by the companies.

Ms Richards said a revised schedule of what the companies believed they owed was presented in December, and that those figures differed from those of the National Pensions Office.

Those figures deducted pension amounts of employees that had not worked more than nine months for one of the two companies.

Ms Richards said that while pension payments are not in fact required for the first nine months of a person’s employment here, they still might be payable in the case of Mr. Henderson and the two companies.

‘It depends on whether the employee was employed elsewhere in the Cayman Islands before that,’ she said.

Ms Richards said that representatives of the Pensions Office had been attempting without success to attend the Immigration Department to inspect the records of the two companies’ employees to verify the information provided by the defendants. She therefore asked for the matter to be adjourned to a later date.

In light of the difficulties experienced by the Pensions Office in verifying the information, Attorney Clyde Allen, who represents Mr. Henderson and the two companies, put the Court and the Crown on notice that he was planning to make an issue with some of the charges against his clients.

He pointed to the charges listed that said the defendants ‘had failed without reasonable cause to provide information to the Superintendent of Pensions’, and he specifically brought attention to the word ‘reasonable’.

He also said the charges that had been brought against his clients were based on information they had provided the National Pensions Office.

In addition to having to pay outstanding pension payments, Mr. Henderson and/or the two companies could face more than $500,000 in fines for failing to bring the pension accounts current, after they were instructed to do so by the National Pensions Office.

There are several properties of Henderson Holdings Ltd. – another company in which Mr. Henderson is involved – that the Pensions Office has put Cautions on in order to assure payment of the back pensions.

The matter adjourned the matter until 31 January.