Tue | Feb 25, 2020

Expert estimates value of house at $69m

Published:Wednesday | October 2, 2019 | 12:12 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

The technical expert from the Integrity Commission returned to the stand yesterday in the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial and revealed that the property he visited in Daley’s Grove in the parish had an approximated value of $69 million.

Under cross-examination, the defence sought answers from the witness on whether a building could value more than than the actual cost to build the structure.

Attorney Norman Godfrey, who represents former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the then Manchester Parish Council, Sanja Elliott, and co-accused Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne-Elliott and Dwayne Sibbles, further questioned if the overall cost of construction could be substantially reduced by certain undertakings of a developer.

The witness said there could be a reduction, but not a substantial one.

Following the disclosure by the witness on Monday that no architectural drawings for the property could be found at the then parish council, attorney Danielle Archer asked whether it was uncommon for blueprints to go missing at the local authority’s offices.

The witness said he could not speak to that.

When asked how he came to the conclusion that the house had valued $69 million, he said he arrived at the figure based on assessment of receipts and invoices detailing purchases, analysis of the measurements, and experience in the area.

He said that from his assessment, the house would have been under construction between 2009 and 2013.

Meanwhile, the owner of an accounting firm was called to the stand yesterday to speak on a request he received from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in relation to co-accused Edwardo Elliott in 2018.

He said that in February 2016, he had written an income letter for Elliott, who was seeking a loan from the bank to purchase materials for a job in Montego Bay. However, Elliott reported to him that his application was unsuccessful.

He said from bank deposits and estimated expenses presented to him by MOCA, he assessed the gross monthly income of Elliott to be $280,000 and his net monthly income would be $252,000.

He said at the time of doing the income letter, he visited Elliott’s furniture shop to gather information as the business lacked proper recording of receipts and expenses.

The matter continues today in the Porus court.