Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Sun Investments executive slapped with $300,000 fine for banking breaches

Second accused freed, third to face court September 6

Published:Tuesday | June 1, 2021 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Clifton Williams, one of the three executives of the Montego Bay-based Sun Investments Limited who were arrested and charged with several breaches of the Bank of Jamaica Act, was yesterday ordered to pay a $300,000 fine or serve two months in prison when he appeared in the St James Parish Court for sentencing.

Williams, 55, had pleaded guilty to six counts of selling foreign currency without being an authorised dealer during his first court appearance on May 19. He was ordered to pay $50,000 on each count by presiding Parish Judge Sasha Ashley.

Williams and his two co-defendants, Vernal Campbell and Earl Swaby, were arrested on May 6 following a series of police operations which revealed that Sun Investments Limited had had its operating licence revoked in 2018.

During Williams’ sentencing hearing, his attorney, Maurice McCurdy, told the court that his client did not have any previous convictions and that the defendant had fully cooperated with the police during their investigations.

“Mr Williams cooperated with the police at every level, and before this occasion, he had never been charged with an offence. For the 55 years of his life, this is his first offence,” said McCurdy. “This was a victimless crime, and he never expected to find himself within these walls under these circumstances.”

“I cannot agree that it was a victimless crime. Up to three years after their licence was revoked and no renewal was issued, there was criminal intent,” Ashley replied before handing down the sentence.

Meanwhile, the 89-year-old Campbell, who made his first court appearance yesterday while leaning heavily on a cane, was freed by the court after the prosecution made a no-evidence motion in relation to his matter, in light of Williams’ previous guilty plea.

“The prosecution is not proceeding against you primarily because Mr Williams has taken full responsibility for the breaches. You are discharged and free to go,” Ashley told Campbell, who was allowed to sit during the proceedings due to his age and health.

The third accused, Swaby, was absent for a second time as he was said to be overseas, despite having previously arrived in Jamaica for another court hearing. His case is to be heard on September 6, at which time he is expected to make himself available before the St James Parish Court.

Williams, Swaby and Campbell were slapped with several charges over the period May 6 to 13, after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled that the men and their company should be charged with several breaches of Section 22A (ii and iii) of the Bank of Jamaica Act – buying, selling, borrowing, and lending foreign currency without being an authorised dealer.