Corruption inquiry launched in British Virgin Islands

19 Jan 21

Allegations of widespread corruption in the British Virgin Islands have led to a formal inquiry being set up to investigate the problem.

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British Virgin Islands Shutterstock 159288443

The British Virgin Islands. Image © Jiri Flogel/Shutterstock

Claims include political interference and coercion relating to appointments in public services, intimidation of public service workers, funds allocated for families struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic being given to political allies, government contracts not following proper procurement processes and the misuse of public money on infrastructure and transport projects.

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the UK government is “extremely concerned about the state of good governance in the British Virgin Islands”, having heard of “a consistent and deeply troubling array of concerns”.

“Successive attempts have been made to address these concerns through local institutions, many of which have done commendable work to bring them to light,” he said.

“However, the scope and seriousness of the concerns are now beyond local capacity to address.”

Raab said the UK’s “constitutional and moral duty” to protect good governance of the islands meant the UK government, along with the governor of BVI, have launched an independent inquiry, which will be led by British judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom.

The report is expected within six months and will recommend action the BVI government should take to ensure any problems are rectified.

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