MONDAY, JANUARY 30: In view of recent reports and allegations of financial malpractice in the public sector it might be useful to remind ourselves that:
- Signs of criminality will be investigated by the Police, who will then put the facts to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will decide whether to charge suspects to court. Anyone who witnesses suspected criminality is urged to report to the Police, for example any requests for bribes, or any knowledge of backhanders. Until and unless they have signs of criminality the Police will not investigate, and nor should they. When they have clear signs of suspected criminality they have shown, for example in response to Mr Bolden’s claims in court in 2011, and this week’s court case involving officials, that they will investigate and, if justified, give the Director of Public Prosecutions a sound case for prosecution.
- Other signs of suspected abuses of position by officials are matters for the Head of the Civil Service. An action may have breached the Financial Instructions which bind civil servants.
- Actions which may be regarded by most Bermudians as questionable, of questionable ethics, or even questionable morality, are not matters for the Police unless those actions break the law. And actions by officials are matters for the Head of the Civil Service only if they break Financial Instructions or other official Guidelines.
The Premier of Bermuda has done much to tighten the law and the official Guidelines; more changes are on the way.
Sir Richard Gozney
30 January 2012