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Commission of Inquiry team yet to be finalised

Progress made: Michael Dunkley, the Premier, says it is vital the commission is made up of the right people (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The make-up of the Commission of Inquiry tasked to look into the handling of taxpayers’ money under the former Progressive Labour Party administration has yet to be finalised.

Michael Dunkley initially stated that he hoped to appoint the membership of the four-strong commission in mid-January.

He told The Royal Gazette that progress in establishing the independent investigation had been made, but confirmed that no official appointments had yet been made.

The Premier said it was vital for the commission to be made up of the right people, and acknowledged that members would not necessarily be Bermudian.

“Nobody has been appointed yet to the commission,” Mr Dunkley said. “We have made significant progress on the mechanisms of how it will work.

“We worked with the Governor [George Fergusson] throughout the new year holiday and I would expect to be able to make an announcement about the commissioners at the end of next week or the week after.

“It’s important we get the right people involved and they will not necessarily have to be Bermudians. But they will have to have the expertise and the time to do a proper job.”

The Commission of Inquiry will investigate concerns raised by the Auditor-General over the handling of taxpayers’ money for the financial years ending March 31 in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Mr Dunkley has previously said he expected the commission to be made up of a lawyer, an accountant, and two other members of the community, and he hoped it would be able to provide its report within 3½ months of being appointed.

The Commissions of Inquiry Act 1935, which determines how the investigation must be conducted, requires a report in writing to be made to the Governor.

“The commission will have the power to call ministers, premiers and people from across the community and they will have access to a range of documentation,” Mr Dunkley said.

“Their powers are significant and are outlined in the legislation.

“The commissioners will have to have a clear understanding of the issues and I expect their work to be arduous at times.

“They are looking at three financial reports over a significant period of time.”