Duguay: Cayman should re-audit Tempura funding

Cayman’s former auditor general says he would like to see government take another look into the funding for the ill-fated Operation Tempura corruption investigation.  

While he hasn’t worked in Cayman for nearly four years, Mr. Duguay was recently invited to be a panelist addressing the subject of Operation Tempura at an offshore financial conference in Miami later this year.  

Mr. Duguay’s office reviewed Operation Tempura spending in a report that the former auditor general partly blamed for his work contract not being renewed in early 2010.  

However, that report only covered a period through January 2009, and Operation Tempura and spin-off investigations continued long afterward.  

“We were probably about two-thirds of the way through the investigation … and there were additional investigative costs and there were other costs that people know about,” Mr. Duguay said last week. “I think the people need an accounting of what this actually cost.”  

The Caymanian Compass’s own cost estimates for Operation Tempura between September 2007 and late 2009 total some $10 million. However, the initial report by Mr. Duguay didn’t go that 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.  

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 ongoing.  

Initial plans for the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s Office to delve back into Operation Tempura were quashed. 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 Cayman as part of the Tempura investigation.  

Last summer, Mr. Swarbrick said 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.”  

Mr. Duguay said it was his successor’s prerogative as to who gets audited, but he believes there is enough public interest in the matter to sustain another review.  

“People keep asking questions about it,” Mr. Duguay said. “Some people see it as a failed investigation, and I think the first question is, how much did we spend on this? 

“I don’t want to slam Cayman. I really love it here, I come back here all the time and I wish everybody the best. That being said … people are still talking about it and they want to know, and if they didn’t want to know, they wouldn’t be discussing it at the Offshore Alert conference.”  

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Mr. Duguay
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4 COMMENTS

  1. The full truth about Operation Tempura will never be revealed to the public. There are too many untouchables involved and justice is not as blind as we would all like to think.

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  2. On 31 May 2013 Mr Swarbrick emailed Steve Moore in the Governor’s office –

    The Office of the Auditor General reported to the Legislative Assembly in October 2009 on the costs of Operation Tempura and Cealt. Due to the lack of public information about the costs of Operation Tempura in early 2009 and concerns raised by Legislators to then Auditor General, Dan Duguay about the escalating costs of the investigation, an audit was commenced to report on the costs incurred by the investigation from September 2007 through January 2009. As clearly stated in the audit report (paragraph 1.05), the work focused on the costs of Operations Tempura and Cealt and did not look at the operational decisions or activities such as the number of police officers or the nature of the work performed by the police officers. The audit also assessed whether there were administrative processes in place to ensure value-for-money such as proper contracting procedures.

    The primary auditor from the OAG received good co-operation from all parties involved in the administration of the investigations. The auditor received most of the documentation requested to support the expenditures and any other evidence requested to support the administration of the investigations. As noted in the report, the auditor requested additional support from the Metropolitan Police for its billing from October 2008 to January 2009, but was unable to obtain it before the report was issued. In addition, the audit team had to estimate the costs of work performed by the Computer Services unit to support Operations Tempura and Cealt as it did not maintain proper records. The only delays encountered were associated with the clearance process and getting comments back from the Government on the draft report.

    Based upon the information received by the OAG subsequent to the issuance of the audit report in October 2009 regarding the administration of Operations Tempura and Cealt, the Auditor General has found no concerns with the quality of the information collected during the audit. Any documentation that was requested but not received did not impact on our ability to carry out our audit and report our findings. As a result, it has been determined that there is no requirement to conduct further audit work. The recommendations in the report, mostly which have not been implemented, should be considered by the current administration to ensure value-for-money for public resources on future projects of this nature.

    This was copied to me as a final response to my repeated requests for the Tempura/Cealt audit to be re-opened. These requests had been accompanied by proof, which was apparently ignored, that at least one of the conclusions of the 2009 audit had been compromised by inaccurate information. I not only welcome Mr Duguay’s support in this but look forward to sharing thoughts on the operations with him in Miami during our May 6 presentation.

    The problem with the 2009 audit is not just that it needs completing but also that, based on my investigations, important details were withheld when Mr Duguay was trying to find out where all the money was going. The most significant revelation involves the recruitment of two private contractors in 2008. The version of events released to me by the Met is completely at odds with the way the process was described to the OAG. As Mr Duguay states above, there are just too many questions still unanswered to simply let this go on unresolved.

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  3. David, the answer to that is yes. My only concern about going down this route is that it might end up being used to try and discredit Mr Swarbrick who is, in general, doing a very good job.

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