Large sums deposited in five-week period, says witness in Kern trial

Published: Wednesday | December 4, 2013 Comments 0

The corruption trial of former junior minister Kern Spencer yesterday heard evidence detailing how, within a five-week period in 2007, millions of dollars were deposited to a financial institution in St Elizabeth.

Prosecution witness D'wain Clarke, who is employed to the financial institution, testified that Spencer's co-accused and former personal assistant, Colleen Wright, made one of the deposits - totalling $4 million - on August 7, 2007, while St Elizabeth Justice of the Peace Evrol Orr made the other deposit of $4.5 million on September 14.

Spencer and Wright are on trial for illicit enrichment and money laundering arising from the implementation of the Cuban light-bulb project. Prosecutors, who have summoned Orr to testify in the trial, have not yet established in what way the transaction he conducted is connected to the case.

presentation of a cheque

Clarke, who is a customer-service representative at the Santa Cruz branch of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), testified that on September 14, 2007, Orr went to see him at his office with a manager's cheque from the National Commercial Bank (NCB) in the amount of $4.5 million made payable to JNBS.

He said after the cheque was cleared by the branch manager, he proceeded to deposit the money in the account Orr had at the branch.

Clarke said Orr then requested a US money draft in the amount of US$60,000, which was made payable to Olint, the failed investment scheme.

However, he testified that three days later, Orr returned to the branch and requested that the draft be "divided in equal portions", both of them payable to Olint.

Earlier, Clarke testified that Wright visited the Santa Cruz branch of JNBS about 10 o'clock on August 7, 2007, and indicated that she wanted to open a fixed deposit account in the amount of $4 million.

He said Wright told him that she wanted to obtain a loan of $3 million to be secured by the deposit.

The witness said Wright indicated that she only had $500,000 to open the account at the time but said she would return later that day with the balance.

He said about 2 o'clock the same day, Wright returned with $3.5 million in cash.

Clarke said he asked Wright what the source of the funds was, and she told him it was from an account she had at NCB.

He said he completed a deposit form for the $3.5 million, which she signed, and this was added to her initial $500,000 deposit.

Clarke said he then completed a loan form for Wright, and she indicated how she wanted the money from the loan disbursed.

"She requested that $1.8 million be paid to her in cash and that $1.2 million be paid by cheque, payable to Help Line Company," Clarke testified.

The witness said Wright counted the cash, collected the cheque, and left the institution.

The trial continues today.

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