10 July 2020
Following a report of an unauthorised disclosure of a closed Executive Council (ExCo) agenda item in May, the Governor referred the matter to the St Helena Police Service. Their investigation has now concluded.
The investigators concluded the information relating to the closed agenda topic broadcast on the radio was likely pieced together from a number of sources: some found to be publicly available; some whose source was uncertain. No direct evidence was found that an individual (i.e. official, elected person or third party) personally disclosed the text of the closed agenda paper to an unauthorised person. Nevertheless, the investigators identified several weaknesses with the way confidential information is handled, distributed and its safeguarding could be compromised, such that inadvertent or intentional disclosure could be possible.
The report found that no criminal or administrative action should be taken against any individual. 23 recommendations were made on possible changes to the handling and safeguarding of information that is classified as confidential. The Governor is satisfied with the outcome. He will be discussing the recommendations with the SHG administration and the Speaker to ensure that all Elected Members and officials are aware of their responsibilities when handling ExCo confidential information to prevent a similar situation from re-occurring.
The investigation report contains personal data and other sensitive content, so will not be circulated or made public.
The Governor regards this instance of an apparent unauthorised disclosure of ExCo closed agenda document to have reached its conclusion. The focus of effort will now be to put in place document handling recommended by the investigation. The interim arrangements for reviewing the ExCo closed agenda documents by Elected Members who do not serve on ExCo will continue until new measures are finalised. The Speaker and Elected Members were informed of these interim arrangements some time ago.
The Governor wishes to thank the St Helena Police Service for their diligent work in conducting the investigation and for the cooperation of the approximately 30 people interviewed.
Governor’s Office, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
10 July 2020