Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Trial of five accused of defrauding NESol set for next year

Published:Monday | November 28, 2022 | 12:06 AMRasbert Turner /Gleaner Writer

The trial of five people accused of defrauding the National Energy Solution Limited (NESol) of millions of dollars will recommence on January 23, 2023, with the chief prosecution witness still under oath to continue.

Accused are Lawrence Pommels, Ricardo Harris, Rayon Hamilton, Horace Stewart, and Kimberly Nelson. The resumption date was arrived at during trial proceedings on October 31. During the proceedings, the prosecution tendered 52 additional pieces of evidence.

Former Director of Finance Angela Prendergast identified the signatures of former Managing Director Carolyn Warren, Chief Engineer Lawrence Pommels, and accounts clerk N. Williams on memoranda, payment for purchase, and other supporting documents.

As director of finance, several documents reportedly bore her authorised signature. This was reportedly based on directives from then Managing Director Warren and Chief Engineer Pommels.

St Catherine Senior Parish Court Judge Desiree Alleyne said that upon resumption of the trial, the proceedings should continue at a reasonable rate.

Alleyne told the defence that with 47 witnesses slated to testify in the matter, the trial will be inevitably lengthy.

She made the comment while the prosecution and defence were trying to settle on a suitable date for the resumption of the matter.

WORK TOGETHER

“We need to work out ways to keep this matter alive, so I think the defence need to work together,” the senior parish court judge said.

Attorney-at-Law George Clue questioned the routine questioning by the prosecution on every document which has been tendered into evidence.

“I see this as boring. The evidence has already been outlined and it is the same signatures. I find it (the method) unnecessary.”

He also questioned the addition of Crown Counsel Vanessa Campbell to marshall the proceedings, instead of Channa Ormsby.

“I did not know that there was a co-prosecutor. If so, I believe that it should been disclosed when the matter started,” Clue said.

The five are being prosecuted by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to recoup almost $19 million fraudulently taken from the coffers of the defunct agency.

It is alleged that they fleeced the sums of money in a ‘lucrative and sophisticated fraud scheme’. The accused are charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Corruption Prevention Act, and the Larceny Act.