Ex-premier’s charges sent to Grand Court

Allegations include dishonest use of government-issued credit card

Former Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush appeared in Summary Court on Friday morning, when 11 charges against him were transmitted to the Grand Court for mention there on Friday, 26 April. 

The West Bay legislator was represented by attorneys Michael Alberga and Steve McField. They agreed with Crown Counsel Michael Snape and Magistrate Valdis Foldats that six of the charges were category A – that is, they can be dealt with only in the Grand Court. Because the other five charges were related, they could be sent along. 

There are two charges of misconduct in public office. The first alleges that, between 10 July, 2009, and 3 September, 2009, he wilfully misconducted himself in public office – namely, the office of Premier and Minister of Finance, Tourism and Development, by dishonestly using a credit card issued by the Cayman Islands government for expenditure in connection with the duties of his office, in that for his personal use he made cash withdrawal transactions and incurred associated fees in casino establishments in the United States totalling US$8,467.26. 

It should be noted that Mr. Bush, previously the Leader of Government Business, was sworn into office as Cayman’s first premier on 6 November, 2009.  

The second charge of misconduct in public office alleges similar cash withdrawal transactions on the government-issued credit card in casino establishments in the US between 12 September, 2009, and 4 December, 2009. Total value specified is US$6,980.80. 

A charge of theft between 10 July, 2009, and 3 September, 2009, alleges that he stole US$8,467.26, the property of the Cayman Islands government, by using a government-issued credit card. 

A second charge of theft relates to US$6,980.80 between 12 September and 4 December, 2009. 

It will be noted that these dates and amounts in these two charges are the same as in the misconduct charges. A third theft charge refers to US$17,478.43 between 18 January and 1 April, 2010, by use of the government-issued credit card. 

A fourth charge of theft alleges that he stole US$17,074.66 using the government-issued credit card between 17 March and 21 April, 2010, using the government-issued credit card. 

The final theft charge refers to US$1,026.08 by using the credit card on or about 23 April, 2010. 

There are four charges of breach of trust by a member of the Legislative Assembly. 

The first is that, between 18 January and 1 April, 2010, in connection with duties of his office, he dishonestly used the credit card issued for expenditures in connection with the duties of his office, in that he made cash withdrawal transactions and incurred associated fees in casino establishments in the US totalling US$17,478.43. The dates and amount are the same as in the third theft charge. 

A second breach of trust charge relates to the same dates as in the charge of stealing US$17,074.66. 

The third breach of trust charge alleges that, between 28 July, 2010, and 23 March, 2012, he dishonestly used the government-issued credit card to purchase personal good and services, the value of which is not stated. 

The fourth breach of trust charge alleges dishonest use of the government-issued credit card for personal use on or about 23 April, 2010, to make a cash withdrawal transaction and incurring associated fees in a casino establishment in the US totalling US$1,026.08. That date and sum are the same as in the fifth theft charge. 

Mr. Alberga initially asked that the Grand Court date be sometime around 15 June “in light of matters happening in the country” – which he later clarified as campaigning before the 22 May general election. 

Mr. Snape suggested that the first Grand Court matter would just be a mention and should be sooner. The magistrate pointed out that an earlier date would assist in getting papers ready. 

Misconduct in public office and breach of trust by a member of the Legislative Assembly can be dealt with only in Grand Court. Four of the theft charges could have been heard in either court and one charge of theft was Summary Court only. However, because the thefts are related to the other matters, all 11 charges were 
sent to the Grand Court together. 

Mr. Bush served as premier until 18 December, 2012, when he was removed from office via a no-confidence vote against his government. 

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