2,400 acres of land ‘recovered’ by Crown
Four members of the former Turks and Caicos Islands Cabinet are among the 13 charged in a criminal corruption probe being undertaken by United Kingdom government representatives in the British Overseas Territory.
In addition, arrest warrants have been issued by the Turks Special Investigation and Prosecution Team for ex-Premier Michael Misick and developer Kem Cinay, according a statement from Turks Governor Ric Todd issued this week.
The territory’s new constitution was introduced on 15 October and elections are anticipated for 9 November, but Mr. Todd said those milestones would not detract from the UK’s continuing investigations in the territory.
“It is clear that the focus is now on the prosecution phase.” Mr. Todd said. “Nevertheless, there will be no let up in the prosecution of those who have been indicted and of any further accused who may be charged with offences investigated by the [special prosecution team].
“Outstanding investigations and prosecutions will continue to be directed by the Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick and until such time as director of public prosecutions is appointed, subject to the supervision of the attorney general.”
In addition to the criminal charges, UK government representatives said 2,462 acres of Crown land have been recovered and various financial settlements for the land have been received.
According to the UK foreign office, the British government has spent around US$19 million in grants during the past three fiscal years in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The grants covered some costs of the special investigations, civil recovery work and support for the local police force. Additional costs paid by the UK government included more than US$1 million to set up “a suitable courtroom for the trials, which will be held as a result of the investigation”.
Former Overseas Territories Minister Henry Bellingham and Turks and Caicos Islands Governor Todd said in April of this year that the UK hoped to recover the costs of the ongoing investigation and other expenses through land reclamation and other methods.
“The [special prosecution team] has agreed a civil recovery order with one individual who has paid the sum of US$1.25 million,” Mr. Bellingham said. “The civil recovery team has made in excess of 40 separate recoveries of money and/or land. The monetary element is US$12 million, including payments already made, judgments obtained and still to be collected, and agreements to pay.
At that time, some 900 acres had been returned to the Crown.
Mr. Todd noted that the current special investigation team would be “gradually integrated” into the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force. It will support prosecutions and conclude current corruption investigations in other areas.
“The enhanced capability within [the police force] will investigate any new allegations of corruption coming to notice or being reported, which are not directly connected to the offences against those currently indicted, the subject of arrest warrants, or currently under investigation,” Mr. Todd said. “This will include the [police] working closely with the Integrity Commission, with whom it has recently signed a memorandum of understanding on working practices.”