Ex-Met cop paid $1,141 a day

An audit has revealed that a former UK police investigator was paid more than CI $27,000 per month in salary and expenses on average over a 17-month period to lead a corruption probe within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

‘That was the highest salary paid to any government employee at the time, including the governor,’ Auditor General Dan Duguay said

Mr. Duguay’s report revealed that former Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger was paid a total of CI $73,242 in salary between September 2007 and April 2008 as the lead detective in the probe known as Operation Tempura – about $9,155 per month.

However, Mr. Bridger’s remuneration tripled after he retired from the UK Metropolitan Police force and became a special constable with the RCIPS. The audit shows that Mr. Bridger then received a total salary of $247,000 between May 2008 and January 2009 – roughly $27,444 per month in salary alone.

There were additional payments to Mr. Bridger during that May to January period totalling $181, 634 for housing, travel and living expenses.

In his audit, Mr. Duguay does not opine whether that expenditure represented good value for money to the Cayman Islands government.

‘It’s almost impossible to say ‘here’s what he should have been paid.” Mr. Duguay said. ‘It’s a unique thing (referring to Operation Tempura.)’

However, the audit noted several areas of concern where government records and procedures related to the Tempura investigation were lacking.

*No bids were taken for the police investigating unit looking into Operation Tempura.

*All payment approvals for the officers involved in the probe were made based on recommendations from Mr. Bridger, who was not a Cayman Islands government employee.

*Police officers were flown from the UK into Cayman in first-class or business-class airline seats to help ‘maintain their cover’ as businessmen here in Cayman.

*Nearly CI $600,000 was paid to a UK consulting company in separate instalments to provide law enforcement advice and expertise. That contract was never bid on and did not come before government’s Central Tenders Committee for review.

*The total amount spent on the entire investigation was estimated at CI $6.8 million as of January 2009, but Mr. Duguay noted that more had certainly been spent since that time. His report only covered the period from September 2007 to January 2009.

Read much more on this story in Tuesday’s Caymanian Compass….