Anti-Corruption Commission down to 2 members

The Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission has only two members out of five since the two independent members left earlier this year and the complaints commissioner took a new position in the United Kingdom. The commission has not met since February and does not have another meeting scheduled, according to the commission secretary. 

The commission has broad powers to investigate corruption allegations, work with overseas authorities and get court orders to freeze assets of suspects in corruption cases. The terms for the two private-sector members on the commission, Leonard Ebanks and Sir Peter Allen, ended on Feb. 28, and both decided not to continue for another term. 

Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick, a member of the commission, said in a recent interview, “The oversight body is not fully functioning at this stage.” But he stressed that the staff side, the anti-corruption unit, is still doing its work to investigate corruption cases in Cayman. The auditor general has a permanent seat on the commission, along with the police commissioner and the complaints commissioner. Two more members from outside of government are also appointed to the commission by the governor. 

The complaints commissioner’s post is currently open. Bridgette Lazzari-von Gerhardt is serving as the acting commissioner. Nicola Williams left the complaints commissioner’s office at the beginning of the year for a new post as the ombudsman for the U.K. Armed Forces. 

“We can technically get a quorum,” Mr. Swarbrick said, because the acting complaints commissioner can vote on the Anti-Corruption Commission. 

The Governor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment on the status of potential new members. 

Deborah Bodden, manager of the Commissions Secretariat overseeing the commission, said in an email, “We are actively engaged in an appointment process of persons to those two positions.” Meanwhile, she added in response to questions from the Cayman Compass, the commission “continues to function.” 

The commission, Ms. Bodden said, last met on Feb. 13, its only meeting this year, and it does not have another meeting scheduled. Over the past three years, the Anti-Corruption Commission has met seven to nine times per year. The Anti-Corruption Commission began its work on Jan. 1 2010, after being created under the 2008 Anti-Corruption Law. The commission has its own unit from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to investigate corruption allegations. Commissioners receive complaints, oversee the work of the investigators and pass on potential charges to the Department of Public Prosecutions. 

Mr. Swarbrick
Mr. Swarbrick