Editorial for 26 April: It’s time for accountability

There must be more accountability when it comes to how
public money is spent.

It is appalling, to say the least, that the Public Service
Pensions funds cannot properly explain or justify thousands of dollars spent on
bonuses, consulting and retainer fees, outside scope work – to the tune of $400
per hour – plus technical, administrative and out-of-pocket expenses related to
the retirement fund for government employees.

Most of the expenses, including those for consultants to
attend meetings outside the Toronto, Canada, region, could not be reconciled.

And it gets worse.

From July 2008 to December 2009 more than $27,000 was
charged to a government charge card issued to the managing director of the
fund. There’s nothing to prove exactly how the money was spent.

More than $34,000 was spent on consultancy services but
again, there is no documentation to back up those charges to the government.

Auditors reviewing the Public Service Pension fund’s books
must have come away from their exercise scratching their heads.

In a majority of instances reviewed they could not find any
documentation to back up the validity of the charges paid by government to the
fund’s administration and consultants.

The only reason these expenses and lack of documentation can
be made public is because the Caymanian Compass filed a request under the
Freedom of Information Law to get the audit report.

The first report given to us had much of the information
redacted – or blacked out. We appealed to the Information Commissioner and
finally got an unredacted copy of the report. That process took eight
months. 

Someone(s) should be held accountable for the money. We hope
that people who read this front page article don’t adopt the attitude of “Oh
well, that’s just how things work in Cayman”. It’s time for that thinking to be
done away with.

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Funny. I thought reimbursement expenses had to have receipts attached. Guess not if you know the right person or are the right person.

  2. Jan Liebaers from the Information Commissioner’s Office passed on the following clarification on this editorial:

    ‘The time lines of this FOI request were as follows: the request was made on 30 August 2011, and an internal review was requested on 18 October. The appeal was made on 3 January 2012 and concluded on 24 April 2012 when you received the unredacted copies of the audit reports. This does make for a period of 8 months overall, but the appeal itself only took less than 4 months.

    ‘During this period, ICO was undergoing acute staff shortages, and is still coping with a record number of appeals currently being processed.

    ‘Under the FOI Law an applicant has the right to receive a full response in 30 calendar days, after which he has the right to ask for an internal review. The public authority then has 30 days to conduct the internal review, after which the issue can be appealed to the ICO. There are certain conditions that apply to these rules, but this is the general chronology of an FOI request.’

Comments are closed.