Cayman’s Anti-Corruption Commission is awaiting feedback from the attorney general on amending a law that would enable the commission to become more financially independent from government.
The commission, in its 2019/2020 annual report released Monday, said it was seeking amendments to the Anti-Corruption Law that would allow it to retain proceeds awarded during confiscation proceedings.
“Retention of this funding would assist the Commission as it moves forward with achieving future independence,” ACC chairman Richard Coles said in the 2019-2020 annual report – the final under his tenure, which ended last month. He has since been replaced by attorney Sophia Harris.
The report stated that the commission had finalised the proposed draft amendments to the Anti-Corruption Law which “incorporate key provisions” to enhance the work of the commission.
The proposed changes were submitted to Attorney General Samuel Bulgin for consideration a year ago, according to the report. The attorney general reviewed the amendments and asked for “details of the rationale/reasoning”. Those were submitted to the attorney general’s office on 6 Jan. this year “where they currently remain for consideration”, the report stated.
“As a general comment, the Commission further agreed that the Chairman should request that the Honourable Attorney General work towards streamlining the confiscation process in order to assist the Commission with its work and also to comply with various requirements of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force,” the report noted.
Legislation is also being drafted that would give the Anti-Corruption Commission the same standing as other law enforcement agencies in relevant laws.
“This omission has recently been evident with the amendments to the Freedom of Information Law and the designation of other law enforcement bodies, but not the Commission, as ‘Security and Intelligence Services’,” it said.
The attorney general, the report stated, has agreed to this amendment to the law, and has referred the matter to the Legislative Drafting Department for the necessary amendment bill to be drafted.
Update on cases
The commission investigated 14 active cases between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. Four new cases were opened during that period.
According to the report, over this period, ACC personnel conducted 74 interviews, 16 of which related to suspects and 58 were witnesses.
Eleven people were charged with corruption offences during the reporting period.