Premier McKeeva Bush told a Public Accounts Committee meeting Friday that he was acting in Cayman’s best interests and within the law when he contracted New York finance company Cohen and Company to arrange a $155 million loan last year.
Mr. Bush said he had sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s Chamber on the issue, which stated that he had the authority to authorise the loan on behalf of Cabinet and the country.
He was responding to an Auditor General’s report into the management of government procurement, which included an examination of the aborted Cohen and Company loan financing arrangement. That report stated that while Mr. Bush had not broken the law when he disregarded the established bidding process for the loan by overriding a Central Tenders Committee recommendation and signed a contract with Cohen and Company, he was in violation of Cayman’s financial regulations by doing so.
Appearing after Mr. Bush at the Public Accounts Committee meeting was Peter Young, the United Democratic Party treasurer who put Cohen and Company in touch with the government on the loan.
Mr. Young insisted that he had played a minor role in the deal by asking Cohen and Company to provide a proposal and then passing that proposal along to government and Ministry of Finance officials.
The Auditor General’s report stated that Mr. Young provided analysis of the deal and had advised Mr. Bush on the matter.
However, Mr. Young said the finance company sent the proposal to him and he had forwarded it to officials, with a cover letter suggested the decision makers consider whether interest rates were at their highest or lowest levels.
“I don’t know how that could be classified as analysis,” he told the committee.
For more on this story, read Monday’s Caymanian Compass.