Anti-corruption probe within RCIPS not done
Although the initial probe that sparked misconduct and corruption investigations within the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service began nearly five years ago, the Caymanian Compass has learned investigations into the various matters raised during that probe are far from finished.
The RCIPS confirmed this week that 19 separate allegations made during the corruption probe known as Operation Cealt “remain with the police anti-corruption unit”. Those cases have been “pended” in police terminology, meaning they are awaiting new information or other matters related to the cases to arise before anything further is done.
Cealt began in 2008 as a spin-off investigation to the Operation Tempura misconduct investigation. At one point, according to police, it involved 161 allegations made against former or current members of the police service.
The nature of the remaining anti-corruption unit cases were not disclosed by police who provided the information about the 19 pending cases in a response to an open records request by the Compass.
According to another recent open records request, eight members of the RCIPS were subjected to disciplinary action earlier as the result of findings in the Operation Tempura and Operation Cealt misconduct investigations.
The police service confirmed eight officers were disciplined, six of whom were dismissed or forced to retire, as a result of the investigations being conducted against them. The two others faced unspecified disciplinary action. The RCIPS also did not specify what allegations against staff members led to their discipline or dismissal.
It was not certain whether a police Uniform Support Group officer’s suspension came as a result of the previous anti-corruption probes or was unrelated to Operations Tempura and Cealt. A response received from the service following a Freedom of Information request indicated the officer is on paid suspension “in relation to a matter outside our jurisdiction”.
The Caymanian Compass has learned the matter involves a serious criminal allegation being investigated in Jamaica. The newspaper is not naming the officer involved because he has not been charged with a crime, as far as it is aware.
No other Uniform Support Group officers have been fired, suspended or placed on required leave from their jobs within the past five years, according to the RCIPS response to the newspaper’s open records request. The USG is the armed branch of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Although it earlier indicated that Operations Tempura and Cealt had both officially ended, an RCIPS response to a previous FOI request also indicated there was at least one allegation that “remains the subject of active investigation”. The nature of that probe was also not stated.
The police service’s statement regarding a total of 19 “pended” cases was heretofore unknown.
“All allegations were fully recorded and investigated,” earlier RCIPS responses indicated. “In a number of cases, the allegations were evaluated and found to be of a ‘single strand’ or historic nature … making it difficult to find corroboration to support them.
“A significant number of the allegations have been ‘pended’ awaiting further intelligence/evidence becoming available in order to reopen them as appropriate. At the conclusion of operation Cealt, a number of these ‘pended’ allegations were passed to the newly formed RCIPS Anti-Corruption Unit for further action, if and when deemed to be appropriate.”
The earlier probe, Operation Tempura, began in September 2007 following claims that a former local newspaper publisher, Desmond Seales of Cayman Net News, and Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis had improperly shared information that could have placed police operations in jeopardy and officers’ lives in danger. Investigators at the time said those claims were quickly disproved and began investigating an alleged ‘break-in’ at the newspaper’s offices in George Town.
The investigation eventually ended in criminal charges against a former deputy police commissioner and a former Cayman Islands lawmaker, both of whom were cleared following criminal trials.
According to the RCIPS response to the private individual’s FOI request, no other criminal charges were filed related to either the Tempura or Cealt investigations.
The RCIPS confirmed this week that 19 separate allegations made during the corruption probe known as ‘Operation Cealt’ “remain with the police anti-corruption unit”.