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.”