Anti-Corruption Commission dismisses MLA Miller’s complaint
Commissioner of Police David Baines, in his capacity as the chairperson of Cayman’s Anti-Corruption Commission, issued a letter to two Dart Realty executives this week exonerating them from any wrongdoing with regard to the payment of $5 million the company made to the government.
“There is no evidence to substantiate that you have committed any offence in contravention of the Anti-Corruption Law 2008 or any other criminal legislation,” Mr. Baines’ letter to Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde and Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak stated. “Therefore, there is no justification for undertaking any further investigation into this complaint, and this matter is now concluded.”
Mr. VanDevelde said Dart Realty was happy the Anti-Corruption Committee had found no wrongdoing, but that the company was not surprised at the finding, given the process involved in the 15 December, 2011, contract it signed with the National Roads Authority and government. He said that the agreement required Dart to pay the $5 million for the funding of community projects.
“This contract was reviewed by the Attorney Generals’ Chambers and Dart Realty was given the opportunity to meet with Cabinet to discuss and review the [National Road Authority] Agreement,” he said. “When finalising the NRA Agreement, we incorporated feedback from the official members of Cabinet.”
The complaint was filed with the Anti-Corruption Commission by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, who has been an outspoken critic of the Dart Group and its various projects in the Cayman Islands, including the deal with the National Roads Authority that would allow for the closure of a section of West Bay Road and require the Dart Group to fund the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension from its current terminus to Batabano Road in West Bay.
Among other things, Mr. Miller requested Dart produce an invoice for the $5 million to show why the payment was being made and he suggested the money was paid to influence the outcome of the proposed multifaceted ForCayman Investment Alliance deal between the Dart Group and the government involving several land swaps and other considerations.
Mr. Miller complained that the funds were earmarked for specific projects, including half of the total for the ‘Save the Mortgage’ – now referred to as Save the Home – programme, instead of going into general revenue.
Mr. VanDevelde said he was surprised Mr. Miller filed the complaint, given the open and transparent process that the NRA Agreement underwent.
“It is disappointing that Mr. Miller has used his complaint as a political tool,” he said. “[That he] has continually stated, in public forums, that Dart’s actions were corrupt – even as the investigation, which he initiated was under way, and [has] repeatedly stated that an invoice should be required, when in fact the $5M represents the fulfilment of a contractual obligation in accordance with a duly executed legal agreement.”
Mr. VanDevelde took Mr. Miller to task for the way he has publicly opposed the National Road Authority agreement.
“As a leader and elected official, Mr. Miller is being extremely irresponsible in his repeated public statements of inaccurate and misleading information about Dart’s involvement in the NRA Agreement,” he said.
Mr. VanDevelde said Dart Realty was pleased to have been completely exonerated by the Anti-Corruption Commission, especially since it was in the process of finalizing the ForCayman Investment Alliance Main Agreement, which requires the Dart Group to provide approximately $10 Million in additional funding for community projects.
In a separate press release issued Thursday, the Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture, stated that PwC Corporate Finance and Recovery (Cayman) Ltd. was in the process of completing an independent review of the National Roads Authority agreement. That review, which is to provide an objective assessment of the value of the agreement to the government and people of Cayman Islands, is a required element of the agreement.
The statement noted that the signing of the agreement allowed for the release of US$5 million by the Dart Group to the government for use in funding various community investments.
“Should the NRA Agreement be terminated after the independent review, Dart Realty will be able to recover the US$5M through development incentives,” the press release stated.
Premier McKeeva Bush issued the following statement regarding the Anti-Corruption Commission’s announcement: “As a Government, we are pleased to see the Anti-Corruption Commission affirm the legitimacy of the Dart contribution to community investments as part of the National Roads Authority Agreement signed in December 2011. This letter…proves that the funding of community investments through the NRA Agreement has been done in full compliance of the laws and regulations, and that the
political mischief making is an unfortunate waste of time and resources that could be better used addressing real problems and real needs in our community.
“In these challenging economic times, the UDP Government stands by the NRA Agreement and the ForCayman Investment Alliance as an innovative, win-win partnership for the good of the Cayman Islands”