Tue | Oct 20, 2020

DPP hails ruling in historic fraud case

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 12:07 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Paula Llewellyn, director of public prosecutions, speaks to members of the media after the ruling of the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial at the Manchester Parish Court yesterday.
Paula Llewellyn, director of public prosecutions, speaks to members of the media after the ruling of the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial at the Manchester Parish Court yesterday.
Sanja Elliot and wife Tasha-Gaye being escorted by the police after they were found guilty in a multimillion dollar fraud case. The judgement was handed down yesterday by senior parish judge Ann-Marie Grainger at the Manchester Parish Court.
Sanja Elliot and wife Tasha-Gaye being escorted by the police after they were found guilty in a multimillion dollar fraud case. The judgement was handed down yesterday by senior parish judge Ann-Marie Grainger at the Manchester Parish Court.
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THE DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has hailed the verdict in the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC) multimillion-dollar fraud case as a victory for public interest and accountability.

Senior parish judge Ann-Marie Grainger yesterday found five of the eight accused in the high-profile case guilty.

Former deputy superintendent of roads and works, Sanja Elliott; former secretary manager and director of finance, David Harris; and former temporary works overseer, Kendal Roberts of the MMC, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud, among other charges.

The judge also found wife of Sanja, Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne Elliott, and carpenter Dwayne Sibbles guilty.

Former bank employee Radcliffe McLean and mother of Sanja, Mrytle Elliott, were freed of all charges.

Sanja’s father, Edwardo Elliott, was freed of all charges in a previous sitting several weeks ago.

Important case

“This is a very important case in terms of our jurisprudential history because it is one of the first where we have been able to drill down in corruption ... it is no longer alleged because the judge has found the accused guilty on several counts which involve corruption and fraud,” said Llewellyn.

With approximately 46 witnesses, more than 240 documents put into evidence and several technical legal issues, the DPP described the case as a highly complex paper intensive trial.

“I think it is a victory for public interest and accountability. My staff, MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, FID (Financial Investigations Division) and OCG (Office of the Contractor General) we were only the facilitators – the conduits. Who won were the Jamaican people who decided to give evidence against people that they know and some of them were possible accomplices too.”

The DPP commended the witnesses for coming forward despite their reservations.

Llewellyn also had high praises for Chief Justice Bryan Sykes for facilitating and creating history by operating a live stream of that proceedings in the parish court; a move she hopes will inspire the participation of others in the judicial process.

Defence attorney Norman Godfrey, who represented Sanja Elliott, his wife and Sibbles, said he would not complain about the verdict but was taken aback.

Godfrey said he would make no further comment until after the sentencing, scheduled for July 27, so as not to prejudice his clients.

However, attorney-at-law Delford Morgan, who represented Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott, two of the accused that were freed, expressed disappointment at the conviction of the other accused persons.

“I am shocked at the verdict and I am very disappointed. I think a central pillar of this case was not addressed today (Friday), (which is) how and by what means were the prosecution able to lay an indictment against the accused persons.”