Mon | Jul 22, 2019

Major inconsistencies in testimony of eighth witness revealed

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2019 | 4:41 PMTamara Bailey - Gleaner Writer

The second day of testimony by the eighth witness in the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC) multi-million dollar fraud trial revealed major inconsistencies.

The court was told that the testimony of the unidentified witness varied significantly from the statement she gave investigators in 2016. 

The witness admitted under cross examination that what  she told the police was as a result of what she was instructed to say by the accused former deputy Superintendent of Roads and Works Sanjay Elliott, who she had seen about a month prior to giving the statement to the police. 

While under cross examination by Norman Godfrey, the attorney representing Elliott, the witness admitted that several accounts in her statement to police were not true.

"Before the investigation and before I went to the police Sanjay told me that if anybody asked any question I should say I did beautification work and I was employed as a contractor," the female witness revealed under questioning by the defence attorney who asked why she lied to the police. 

She explained to the court that she followed Elliott's instructions because he is a friend but insisted that what she said in her statements and on the witness stand about providing Elliott with her TRN, full name, being called to pick up approximately 40 cheques, encashing them and turning over the monies, were true accounts of what happened.

The witness told the court yesterday that she collected and encashed about 40 cheques totalling approximately $15 million for work she never done or facilitated at the MMC.

Another witness, who also encashed cheques bearing her name for work she never did or facilitated at the MMC, was also called. 

She revealed that it was her uncle, who is not among those charged, who had requested her TRN and name and told her that she would later be instructed to pick up about three cheques, possibly ranging between $200,000 to $300,000 at the then Manchester Parish Council.

The witness stated that she would go to the MMC, sign for the cheques, encash them at a popular financial institution and then turn the monies over to her uncle .

When presented with a document bearing an invoice and questioned about the work being claimed for, she confirmed that she had never submitted an invoice, never had one submitted on her behalf, she never owned a water truck and never transported water to the Knockpatrick Division in the parish. 

A representative from the then Office of the Contractor General , now subsumed into the Integrity Commission, also took the stand today and spoke briefly on the date their investigations began and how documents confiscated were treated. 

The representative who is 10th on the witness list is expected to return tomorrow.

There are approximately 37 witnesses left to take the stand after counsel removed 12 persons from the list. 

Charged in the matter are former acting secretary-manager and director of finance at the then MPC, David Harris; former Deputy Superintendent of Roads and Works Sanjay Elliot; temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts; former bank employee Radcliffe McLean; employee of Elliott, Dwayne Sibbles; Elliott’s mother Mrytle Elliott; father Edwardo Elliott; and Sanjay’s wife Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne Elliott.

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