A prosecution witness yesterday outlined a series of transactions she said she conducted for former junior minister Kern Spencer that ended with the wire transfer of US$64,000, approximately J$4.4M at the time, to a Land Rover dealership in Florida.
Sasha Neil-Elliott, a customer service representative at the Santa Cruz branch of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) at the time, testified that the multimillion-dollar wire transfer was done five days after Spencer and his co-accused, Colleen Wright, used cash totalling $3.25 million to open a fixed deposit account at the financial institution on July 25, 2007.
Elliott, who was led through her evidence by lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn, gave evidence that on July 30, Spencer and Wright returned to the financial institution with cash amounting to $3 million and opened a second fixed deposit account.
She said the former junior energy minister informed her that the purpose of the accounts was to secure a loan.
Spencer and Wright, his former personal assistant, are on trial for illicit enrichment and money laundering, arising from the implementation of the Cuban light bulb programme.
The programme, which was introduced in 2006, involved the distribution of four million free compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) islandwide. The CFLs were donated to Jamaica by the Cuban government.
The JNBS customer service representative testified that while she was completing the arrangements to open the second fixed deposit account, Spencer indicated that he wanted to take out two loans for $2.25 million each.
She said Spencer directed that the fixed deposit accounts be used to secure the loans.
Elliott testified that the loans were approved the same day and she immediately informed Spencer.
"Did Mr Spencer say anything to you after that?" Llewellyn questioned.
"He requested that the money be sent by wire transfer and he handed me a sheet of paper with the information for the wire transfer," she replied.
According to Elliott's testimony, the money was transferred to a Florida bank account for Land Rover North Dade, located in Miami Lakes, Florida.
Defence attorneys objected to the testimony, arguing that it was prejudicial to their clients and was "of no probative value".
"It has absolutely no connection with any essential ingredient of the offences for which they are charged," said defence attorney K.D. Knight, who is representing Wright.
The evidence was, however, allowed by Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey.
"If it was a jury trial, I could see how it would prejudice a jury," the presiding magistrate sought to explain.
Elliott is to continue giving evidence today.