Miller: Anti-corruption agencies ‘under-resourced’

Renews call for ethics law to be enacted

Anti-Corruption Commission cases, 2018-2019

Public Accounts Committee chairman Ezzard Miller said local corruption-fighting agencies lack the necessary resources to perform their roles properly.

This has led entities like the Anti-Corruption Commission to prioritise reports coming to them before starting investigations, Miller told legislators last week.

“It could very well be in some of the reports that they don’t investigate could be some of the troubling things that we do need to know about,” Miller said as he tabled the Public Accounts Committee’s report on its inquiry into the auditor general’s ‘Fighting Corruption in the Cayman Islands’ report.

Miller, speaking in the Legislative Assembly last Wednesday, said, in general, the report found “most of the legislative framework is in place to detect, convict and prevent corruption, but what came out in the public hearings was that all of the agencies seem to be under-resourced”.

He urged the government to ensure that additional resources are provided to all the agencies tasked with combatting corruption.

Government has allocated $2.64 million to support commissions, including the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Commission for Standards in Public Life, according to budget documents.

Miller also renewed his call for the commencement of the Standards in Public Life Law, which, though it passed more than five years ago, remains in abeyance.

This law oversees the conduct of public officials, including politicians and those who sit on government boards.

Amendments to the legislation have passed in the Legislative Assembly, but the enactment of the law remains on hold as its provisions are being reviewed.

Prior to Miller’s comments, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson tabled the Standards in Public Life Commission’s report for February 2019 to July 2019.

Manderson said the commission stated that, over the next reporting period, it intends to continue to liaise with the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Premier to secure a commencement date for both the law and amendment law, as well as drafting accompanying regulations.

“Following a firm commitment from the government to commence the law, the commission will undertake a full review of the education and guidance notes. They will also do work on the procurement law,” Manderson added.