Prosecutions may be imminent in Turks and Caicos

first_img Share NewsRegional Prosecutions may be imminent in Turks and Caicos by: – September 16, 2011 Share Share Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! 32 Views   no discussions Andrew Mitchell QC (33knowledge.com)PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – The visit this week to the Turks and Caicos Islands of a leading specialist in civil and criminal asset forfeiture, and who is reportedly due to return in November and December, has led to renewed speculation locally that the long-expected prosecution of former government ministers on corruption charges may well be imminent.Andrew Mitchell QC, who was in Grand Turk this week, has been described as the pre-eminent barrister in the field of confiscation, restraint and receivership. He regularly represents government agencies, defendants, receivers and third parties on matters relating to the restraint, receivership and forfeiture of property.Earlier this year, Mitchell was in Trinidad representing Lawrence Duprey, the former chairman of the collapsed CL Financial group.Meanwhile, in a press release this week, London law firm Pinsent Masons LLP and London barristers Richard Kovalevsky QC and Sean Hammond of 2 Bedford Row said they would help local law firms that might face conflicts in representing their clients.“We have joined forces with a view to assisting local firms to enable them to defend clients if the SIPT [Special Investigation and Prosecution Team] object to their involvement and to advise others who have not retained counsel,” said Barry Vitou of Pinsent Masons. “We are very keen to work with local counsel and have liaised with a firm on the island to assist us if other local firms are conflicted.”He added, “Ultimately I anticipate that we would likely only be able to assist one firm in relation to its client for conflict reasons. However, the ‘offer’ is open to all.” The recently released final report of the Turks and Caicos Islands 2008-9 Commission of Inquiry into possible corruption, or other serious dishonesty in relation to past and present elected members of the legislature recommended criminal investigation of five former Cabinet ministers in respect of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including misfeasance in public office in recent years.However, according to local sources, two former ministers are currently co-operating with the SIPT, presumably in an attempt to avoid or mitigate criminal prosecution.In relation to former Premier Michael Misick, the Commission recommended criminal investigation by police or others in relation to him of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including misfeasance in public office in relation to the following and other similar matters in recent years:— Misick may have abused his position as premier and as leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) by using PNP funds for his own purposes;— Misick accepted and failed to declare many gifts of money via the client account of his brother and attorney, Chal Misick, which were not, and could not reasonably be interpreted as being political in nature, and which he appears to have applied to his personal expenditure;— The payment of $500,000 by Dr Cem Kinay, through his company, Turks Ltd, to Misick was a possibly corrupt payment;— The receipt by Misick of $250,000, purportedly by way of loan from Inazio & Gataen Caltagirone, via the client account of Chal Misick, was possibly a corrupt payment;— Undocumented and unrepaid loans to Misick, collectively amounting to about $350,000 from Jeffrey Hall, Floyd Hall or his brother and Lillian Boyce or her brother were possibly corrupt payments to him for favours given in relation to a transaction engendering the money to facilitate such payments;— Misick in recent years accepted and failed to declare to the Registrar of Interests many gifts or purported loans of money via the client account of his brother and attorney, Chal Misick, which were possibly corrupt on account of possible favours given by him in his capacity as premier;— Misick promoted the abuse of the Crown Land Policy on a number of occasions, and benefited personally from that abuse;— Misick behaved in a possibly corrupt manner and/or in misfeasance of his public duty, by securing highly paid advertising contracts for his wife with the TCI Tourist Board and with Kerwin Communications purportedly acting on behalf of the Tourist Board, thereby potentially abusing his power with a view to enriching his wife and himself;— Misick behaved in a potentially seriously dishonest manner, including misfeasance in public office and dishonest misappropriation of public funds, by his possible misuse of government funds and facilities for his personal purposes in his use of aircraft chartered or leased by the government for official purposes;— A possibility of corruption and/or other serious dishonesty, including misfeasance in public office, in relation Misick in the chain of events leading to the eventual disposal of land at Joe Grant Cay at well below market price to a consortium led by Dr Cem Kinay, following the secret payment by Kinay of $500,000 to him in January 2007, followed by the approval by Cabinet on 16 May 2007, to which Misick was a party;— Possible corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest involvement, including misfeasance in public office, of Misick in relation to the government’s transactions with Mario Hoffmann of DEVCO for the development of Salt Cay.In relation to former finance minister Floyd Hall, the Commission recommended criminal investigation by police or others in relation to him of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including theft and false accounting and misfeasance in public office in relation to the following and other similar matters in recent years:— Hall, in his capacity as Treasurer of the PNP: 1) failed to administer and keep proper accounts of the funds of the PNP; and 2) misled the party as a whole as to the true state of its financial affairs and the purposes to which its monies were being put;— Payment by Jak Civre, the developer of the Seven Stars Resort, to Hall of $150,000 on 8th February 2007, the day before the election, purportedly as a campaign donation, but which Hall paid into the business account of his company, Paradigm, and also other unexplained payments were possibly corrupt payments;— Hall, in accepting payment from Richard Padgett of $375,000 in February 2006 purportedly as a finder’s fee for services rendered some years before, but shortly after his planning appeal decision in Padgett’s favour, had potentially acted dishonestly, including by way of misfeasance in public office, and possibly corruptly;— Hall, in arranging with Richard Padgett in or about June 2007 for his wife, Lisa Hall, to be appointed a director of, and made a one-third shareholder a real estate brokerage company, the agreed value of her shareholding being about $280,000, but for which she was to provide little or no consideration, was a possibly corrupt transaction;— Hall possibly acted corruptly and/or in misfeasance of his public office in failing to withdraw or to declare his links with Richard Padgett, at Cabinet discussions concerning the government’s dealings with Padgett’s business affairs;— A loan of $200,000 from Richard Padgett to Hall in August 2007, which Hall did not declare to the Registrar of Interests, or to the Commission, until he was examined in the Commission’s oral proceedings, was a possibly corrupt payment;— Hall, in accepting the payment of $200,000 from Alden Smith, purportedly for services rendered, did so possibly corruptly and/or by conduct amounting to misfeasance in public office, since the payment followed the advantageous sale of Crown Land to Smith’s company, which had immediately sold the land on for a large profit to an overseas developer, making payments from that profit to Hall and Misick;— Hall took part in possibly corrupt transactions by accepting proceeds of the profits made by his brother, Quinton Hall, involving the disposal of Crown Land to an overseas developer at a large profit;— Hall, in making private requests to the Minister for Natural Resources for allocations of Crown Land for certain companies to enable them to use the land as security for loans, from which he personally derived a substantial borrowing of $1.1 million, perverted and/or undermined the Crown Land Policy for and process of distribution of Crown Land, and did so possibly corruptly and in misfeasance of his public office;— Hall’s conduct in promoting in Cabinet the award of the contract for administering the treatment abroad system to Southern Health Network was possibly corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest, including misfeasance in public office, because it subverted the proper workings of government, in particular its tender processes, to ensure that the only proposal put before the Cabinet for serious consideration was that of a friend and business colleague, Delroy Howell.In relation to former minister for natural resources, McAllister Hanchell, the Commission recommended criminal investigation by police or others in relation to him of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including misfeasance in public office in relation to the following and other similar matters in recent years:— Hanchell, in accepting from Arlington Musgrove payments totalling over $300,000 into the PNP South Caicos account purportedly as campaign funding for the February 2007 election, possibly entered into a corrupt transaction;— Hanchell, in his office of minister for natural resources, entered into possibly corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest transactions by offering on behalf of the government grants of Crown Land to himself and/or to companies that he substantially owned or controlled;— Hanchell potentially abused his ministerial position by instructing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Natural Resources to allocate Crown Land to individuals of his choice, or to allocate, or instruct the Permanent Secretary or other of his departmental officers to allocate Crown Land to individuals identified and notified to him by fellow Ministers, in all or most cases without proper regard to the Crown Land Policy;— Hanchell may have participated in possibly corruption arrangements in which offers of Crown Land were made to individuals, who had not applied for the land, with a view to the recipients of the offers selling the land on quickly to developers at a substantial profit for all the parties involved;— A possibility of corruption and/or other serious dishonesty, including misfeasance in public office, in relation to Hanchell in the chain of events leading to secret payment by Dr Cem Kinay of $500,000 to Misick in January 2007;— Hanchell possibly abused his ministerial position and/or acted corruptly or otherwise seriously dishonestly and/or in misfeasance of his public office, by deliberately undermining the authority of the Chief Valuation Officer, in relation to the valuation of land at Joe Grant Cay, by rejecting the valuations undertaken by him, with a view, possibly, to ensuring a swift completion of sale of the land to the consortium led by Dr Kinay at a very large undervaluation.In relation to former minister of works, Jeffrey Hall, the Commission recommended criminal investigation by police or others in relation to him of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including misfeasance in public office in relation to the following and other similar matters in recent years:— Hall failed to account: 1) for his receipt and expenditure of funds in excess of $800,000 credited to his accounts; 2) for his receipt of $200,000 from Evan Harvey; and 3) for a gift to him of $10,000 from David Wex;— Hall promoted, and personally benefited from abuse of the Crown Land Policy in relation to the sale to a non-Belonger of Crown Land by participating in a possibly corrupt transaction in relation to the sale (‘flipping’) of land to an overseas developer, David Wex;Other findings by the Commission in relation to Hall in respect of which no recommendations were made are as follows:— Hall failed repeatedly to make any or any full or adequate declarations of interests to the Registrar of Interests, in breach of the Registration of Interests Ordinance, and also failed adequately to disclose his financial interests to the Commission, pursuant to the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance.In relation to former minister of health and education, Lillian Boyce, the Commission recommended criminal investigation by police or others in relation to her of possible corruption and/or other serious dishonesty including misfeasance in public office in relation to the following matters:— Boyce participated in a possibly corrupt transaction in relation to the sale (flipping) of Crown Land by: 1) accepting the proceeds of profits made by her brother, Earlson Robinson, from the sale of a share in the interest of a company, which had involved the disposal of Crown Land for large profits to an overseas developer, David Wex; 2) loaning or giving part of those profits to Misick, or assisting her brother in doing so; and 3) failing to declare those profits to the Registrar of Interests or to disclose them Commission, and failing to declare her brother’s connection to the transaction in Cabinet discussions concerning the transaction.By Caribbean News Now contributorlast_img

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