Documents drama resurfaces; witness distances herself from invoices, cheques
Prosecutors in the $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial were again warned yesterday about presenting documents that had not been admitted into evidence.
When the representative of the former Office of the Contractor General, which was subsumed into the Integrity Commission, took the stand yesterday, his testimony was intermittently interrupted as a result of objections from the defence counsel.
Questions were raised about the authenticity of the documents confiscated during a 2016 raid at the then named Manchester Parish Council as the defence sought to find out who had signed them and whether they were copies of original documents or copied from other copies.
The prosecution insisted that the documents presented met the requirements of the guiding legal framework.
Presiding Judge Ann-Marie Grainger, in reference to copies of some cheques attached to documents being presented, cautioned that if the cheques were not in evidence but noted on a letter, that it was prejudicial.
The local authority was raided by the Financial Investigations Division and Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency in 2016 after irregularities were discovered.
Reports are that several invoices, many in excess of $400,000, were submitted for work not done and were registered in the names of persons who were unaware that their identity was being used to validate the documents.
Yesterday, the eleventh witness, whose name was on a number of invoices and cheques, took the stand.
The witness confirmed that she did work for the corporation in 2014 but denied knowledge of the invoices bearing her name in the following years.
The matter will continue at the Porus Courthouse on Monday.
It is expected that the trial, which was at first scheduled for two weeks, will go on until September, with intermittent breaks.