A government report into the possible abuse of overtime by security staff at the Health Services Authority cannot be released until a criminal investigation on the matter is complete, the Ombudsman has ruled.

The Cayman Compass had asked for the Internal Audit Service’s report on the HSA’s security department to be made public through a Freedom of Information Request.

The authority refused access, citing the fact that the matter is under investigation by law enforcement.

That decision was upheld on appeal to the Ombudsman, the independent body that has jurisdiction over open records disputes.

In a letter to the Compass, the Ombudsman noted, “I have confirmed that there is in an ongoing investigation concerning financial irregularities in the remuneration of members of the Health Services Authority’s (HSA) Security Department and I agree that it would be premature and unreasonable to release this record to you at this time.

“Therefore, I conclude that the exemptions applied to the record responsive to your request are in fact engaged and the record has been appropriately withheld at this time.”

The Ombudsman noted that the record would be eligible for release once the investigation is complete, though it is not clear when that will happen. The Anti-Corruption Commission, which is believed to be the investigating authority in this case, does not give details of its investigations. The Compass previously reported the arrest of two supervisors in the HSA’s security office by the Anti-Corruption Commission in June.

Basic details of the audit review were revealed in February of last year amid the suspension of a number of HSA security officers.

The Compass reported at the time that around a dozen security staff were placed on required leave while the internal audit investigation into overtime irregularities took place.

According to a notice sent to those security officers: “In order to facilitate an investigation into irregularities in the security section, it has been decided that it would be in the best interest of the Health Services Authority to place you on required leave effective immediately. You will remain in that status for 30 days or until the investigation is completed.”

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