Fuel depot chief retires

The man in charge of Cayman’s government
fuel depot announced his retirement Wednesday, just before publicly slamming
the country’s auditor general over a recent report.

That report intimated fraud had
potentially occurred within several government departments that use the depot.

While admitting there “has
definitely been some abuse” of the government’s employee fuel card system,
Department of Vehicles and Emergency Services Director Dale Dacres sharply
criticised the report which revealed that potential abuse.

Mr. Dacres – whose retirement took
effect Thursday – said that estimates of $500,000 being potentially
fraudulently purchased from the government fuel depot were “not reliable”.

“While there is some merit to
audit’s findings to (the) extent that there has definitely been some abuse, the
fact remains that the estimated level of abuse is not reliable,” Mr. Dacres
wrote in an e-mail message sent to all Cayman Islands
civil servants on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Duguay said he was upset that
the government’s “CS Messages” system had been used to respond to the internal
audit department’s review of government fuel card usage.

“I think it was an improper use of
a government system to respond to audit reports,” Mr. Duguay said. “There are
other avenues (Mr. Dacres) has to respond to these reports.”

The initial report completed by the
government’s internal audit unit looked at fuel purchases by five departments
between January 2008 and March 2009. Those departments included the Royal
Cayman Islands Police Service, The Public Works Department, the Department of
Environmental Health, the Water Authority, and the National Roads Authority.

That initial report was given to
the Portfolio of Finance in December 2009. However, it wasn’t made public until
Auditor General Dan Duguay presented the matter to the Legislative Assembly
with his own comments added.

The internal audit unit did not
make an estimate of potential fraudulent purchases that may have occurred
amongst the five agencies. Mr. Duguay added that figure in his own report and
comments on the internal audit unit’s review.

The original audit found that there
were a number of instances where a government employee had used a single gas
card to fill up numerous vehicles. Also, there were instances when cards
belonging to workers who had left the civil service were still being used at
the government fuel depot.

Read more on this story next week
in the Caymanian Compass…