Police ask for patience

Amid a number of high profile investigations of alleged financial improprieties, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Financial Crimes Unit has asked for the public’s patience while it looks into the various cases.

‘We all look at detectives on the television and they solve cases in an hour, and you get four commercial breaks in between,’ RCIPS Superintendent Mike Needham said.

‘These are complex issues,’ Acting Police Commissioner David George said, adding jokingly, ‘We have not in any way taken this time to do any commercial breaks in between.’

The RCIPS announced Tuesday that a nine month investigation of failed financing arrangements for the expansion of Boatswain’s Beach had ended in no criminal charges. Mr. Needham also generally discussed other cases the Financial Crimes Unit is working on.

One of the cases, a review of the Affordable Housing Initiative, which was begun in 2005, has been presented to the attorney general’s office for review. The police investigation was sparked following a report from Auditor General Dan Duguay that raised several concerns including the tendering and costs of the project which aimed to build 200 affordable homes in Cayman.

Mr. Needham said the case file has gone back and forth between police and the attorney general’s office.

‘It came back for some additional work, and it’s been sent back to the legal department,’ he said.

The Financial Crimes Unit has arrested one man in connection with an investigation into the collapse of several Cayman Islands-domiciled investment funds. The funds’ collapse is thought to involve millions of dollars.

The 47-year-old man who was arrested is not being identified because he’s not been charged. He was rumoured to have left the island, but Mr. Needham denied that earlier this week.

‘As far as I’m aware, the person we’ve arrested has not left the island,’ he said.

Another investigation involves the expenditure by former University College of the Cayman Islands President Hassan Syed of nearly US $300,000 on a university-issued credit card. Some of those expenses were classified as personal and were deducted from Mr. Syed’s salary.

The Caymanian Compass reported earlier this year that those expenditures included more than US $50,000 worth of jewellery.

Mr. Needham said financial crimes is still actively investigating the case, but declined to answer questions about whether officers’ knew the whereabouts of the former university president.

Mr. Duguay’s office also presented a draft report to the UCCI Board of Governors concerning what was described as ‘unsubstantiated financial activities.’ A final report has not been released by the auditor general’s office.

The Boatswain’s Beach financing investigation also started following a review by the auditor general. Although no charges were filed, Mr. Duguay said he stood by his office’s report and earlier comments that some of the money spent on the failed financing deal amounted to a ‘wanton disregard’ in the use of public funds.

Police did not dispute any of the facts found in Mr. Duguay’s report, they merely said that investigations had not led to proof of criminal wrong-doing.