The Auditor General’s Office has started an investigation into finances of the Police Welfare Fund and overtime payments at the RCIPS.

Auditor General Sue Winspear, in response to queries from the Cayman Compass about the inquiry, said on Wednesday that her office was asked to look into the fund after it was not audited annually as required by law.

Records from as far back as 2016 have not been audited.

“The Police Welfare Committee had neglected to have this done. The Committee contacted us and asked us to undertake an audit after, I understand, the new Police Commissioner brought this deficiency to the Committee’s attention,” Winspear said in an email.

The issue was raised by Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders during Finance Committee Monday evening as legislators deliberated on budget allocations for the RCIPS. Police Commissioner Derek Byrne was before the committee at the time.

Saunders pointed to allegations that officers were claiming overtime while on assigned duties.

“So basically, they were being paid twice,” Saunders said.

Byrne said, from his understanding of the MLA’s concerns, it had to do with the fund, which he explained was with the auditor general after an initial assessment by government’s internal audit department.

“I am awaiting that report. It is an extensive audit and it will take some time before being completed,” Byrne told the committee.

He said he had some information about what Saunders pointed to but declined to elaborate as he said it is under investigation.

“If a criminal offence is disclosed, the matter will be investigated and a file will be submitted to the director of public prosecutions,” said Byrne.

As for the auditor general’s probe, Winspear said it took some time to establish the parameters of the work to be done and compile sufficient information to begin.

“So, we are now auditing concurrently the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 and in the new year, 2019 will be audited, too. A number of issues have been brought to our attention which we are exploring during the course of our work,” she said.

Winspear added she could not go into further detail on the probe.

“If we find matters that need remedy, we will report these to the relevant authorities as we would do with any of our audit work,” she said.

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