Initial plans for the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office to delve back into the ill-fated corruption investigation known as Operation Tempura have apparently been quashed, the Caymanian Compass has learned.
Toward the beginning of his first term in office, Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick produced a long-term audit plan that included a second look at “value for money” received by the overseas territory as part of the Tempura investigation.
A first audit done by the office in 2009 focused on contracts and spending associated with the probe between its inception in September 2007 and January 2009.
However, Tempura investigators from the UK Metropolitan Police Service stayed in Grand Cayman for nearly another year until the remnants of the case were picked up by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Anti-Corruption Unit.
Mr. Swarbrick said last week that he didn’t see any “value” for the public in going back into the matter, as it was likely to involve issues in other jurisdictions outside the scope of the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office.
“The scope of our work [in the first report] was to report the costs of Operation Tempura and examine the processes operated by the Cayman Islands government in managing the project and the related contracts,” Mr. Swarbrick said.
“In respect of the individual contracts, we were examining solely what procedures the Cayman Islands government undertook to ensure that they obtained the appropriate expertise and received value for money.
“The role of other parties in providing contractors was therefore not within the scope of our audit.”
However, several other matters occurred locally related to the ill-fated operation since the time of the first audit.
Those include: The continuing use of a British-based law enforcement consultancy firm after January 2009; the cost of two criminal trials – one for a former deputy police commissioner and one for a former member of the Legislative Assembly – a report done at a cost of more than $300,000 to evaluate a complaint made by the operation’s former senior investigator; and other court cases including civil court matters that are still ongoing.
Former Operation Tempura witness and retired UK journalist John Evans sums it up: “From a financial perspective, no one knows what went on after 1 February, 2009 or how much it has cost.
That’s more than four years not accounted for.”
The Caymanian Compass’s own cost estimates for Operation Tempura between September 2007 and late 2009 have totalled some $10 million. However, the initial report done by then-Auditor General Dan Duguay doesn’t go so far.
Mr. Duguay’s audit revealed that $5.7 million was spent on Operation Tempura from September 2007 to January 2009.
His office estimated a further $1.1 million was spent from February through June 2009, but did not specifically review costs for that period.
For the period of September 2007 through January 2009, the costs break down as follows:
$1.3 million spent on contracted officers, UK Met police officers and other contract personnel.
$541,619 went for a consulting contract handled by a UK firm.
$780,957 was spent on travel for police officers and their families, as well as others who assisted in the investigation.
$443,235 was spent on housing for members of the police investigation team.
$928,673 was paid out in legal expenses, including amounts needed to handle lawsuits filed over the police team’s actions.
$197,320 was for office accommodation costs for the investigation team.
$109,247 went to vehicle costs for officers.
$1.275 million was paid to Grand Court Justice Alexander Henderson following his wrongful arrest in 2008 by representatives of the UK Met team.
Mr. Duguay did not opine in his audit whether that expenditure represented good value for money to the Cayman Islands government.