Civil servants face regulation
The Department of Vehicle and Emergency Services has installed cameras at their facility to stop the reported theft of gas costing the department hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In May 2010, representatives from at least three government departments admitted some petrol appeared to have been stolen from the Cayman Islands fuel depot on North Sound during the past few years.
The exact time of the incidents were not specified, but at least one case led to a criminal investigation, according to Police Commissioner David Baines.
The issue first came to light during a Public Accounts Committee meeting held in May 2010, which came on the heels of an internal audit by former Cayman Islands Auditor General Dan Duguay outlining the potential for widespread fraud and abuse at the Department, which provides fuel for government vehicles.
At the time, Mr. Duguay said about 33 per cent or roughly $500,000 of fuel purchases made at the depot between January 2008 and March 2009 were considered “suspicious.”
However, Director of Vehicle and Emergency Services John Carey said he thought it was unfair and damaging to the morale of the department for Mr. Duguay to paint the picture that everything that was irregular was theft.
“There are instances where a driver may be filling up for $25 for weeks and then suddenly there is a $50 charge,” Mr. Duguay said. “This can sometimes be due to them carrying a container that needs filling due to circumstances that are truly legitimate. That being said, it is probably safe to assume that some abuses did occur.”
As a result of the irregularities, members of the Cayman Islands Government’s Finance Committee were told cameras had been installed at the fuel depot and duplicate cards were no longer being issued.
“We are happy with the way things are going we can monitor the usage of the fuel pumps more effectively and even go back and view data. I can say that their having already been savings,” said Accounts Officer Stephane Delepenah of the Department.
She said, “Everyone has been behaving extremely well and once cameras up are up it is always a deterrent, especially at night when there was previously no means of monitoring potential abuses.”
Mr. Carey said the eight cameras monitoring the facility are able to capture licence plates and faces, as well as store data for up to three months. He said if there is stealing it should be dealt with at the departmental levels of government, but when it came to detection, the Department of Vehicle and Emergency Services has responsibility.
“We can monitor these cameras from anywhere in the world in real time and because we are able to store data, we can also assist in investigations,” Mr. Carey said.
Mr. Carey said the fuel card system is now user identity-based and will also mitigate the potential for any future abuses of the fuel depot.