Mon | Oct 14, 2019

Witness says more than $2m found in safe at accused’s home

Published:Tuesday | October 8, 2019 | 12:15 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

An officer attached to the Financial Investigations Division (FID) revealed yesterday that during an operation at the home of one of the accused in the multimillion-dollar Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial, there was a disclosure of the source of the monies seized.

The officer, who was giving testimony in the trial yesterday, said that in 2016, he, along with other police personnel, visited the Daley’s Grove home of the former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the then Manchester Parish Council, Sanja Elliot. Acting on instructions, they proceeded to carry out a search.

According to the officer, who is the 36th witness in the trial, he proceeded with Elliott to a closet which housed a safe containing both United States and Jamaican currency.

Just over J$1.5 million and more than US$5,000 (approximately J$650,000) was found.

The defence objected to the revelation, stating that there was nothing in the witness’ statement about his involvement in the 2016 investigations and the seizure of monies.

However, the prosecution noted that there was, in fact, mention of large sums of money in said statement as well as in other documents admitted into evidence.

Presiding Judge Ann-Marie Grainger cautioned the prosecution to present their case well or risk an attack by the defence on the credibility of the witness.

The witness later revealed that when Elliott was questioned about the source of the monies, he stated that the total was from a bank account, the sale of cars, and cambio exchange.

The witness said in relation to the accused’s revelation of buying and selling cars, he checked the Jamaica Trading Website to see if Elliott was listed but found no information regarding the accused as a licensed trader.

He said further checks were made at the National Motor Vehicle Registry.

The accused’s lawyer, Norman Godfrey, alluded to the fact that there was no evidence that his client imported cars but only that he sells them.

As the defence sought to chip away at the witness’ testimony, they said a visit to a website and car marts was not enough investigation for the witness to give his opinion.

Judge Grainger later stated that she did not see why the witness should give his opinion as he is not more special than other witnesses who are not experts.

The judge later accepted the points made by the prosecution and permitted the questions.

Other wintess

Earlier, a representative from the National Motor Vehicle Registry was called to the stand and asked to speak to a request she received from FID for documents in relation to Elliott and a second individual.

She said the search yielded six motor vehicle titles, four of which were registered to Elliott.

Among other documents found were applications for motor vehicle transactions, insurance coverage, endorsed titles, certificates of fitness, and tax invoices.

In cross-examination, Godfrey asked the witness if, by just looking at a title, one could conclude that the person was a dealer.

She said not by the application form.

The matter continues in the Manchester Parish Court tomorrow.

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