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Kern tapes played in court

Published:Thursday | March 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Mark Beckford, Staff Reporter

Twenty-three recordings of conversations between former junior minister Kern Spencer and star witness Rodney Chin were played yesterday at the Half-Way Tree Courthouse, after Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey ruled that the digital recordings were already in evidence, adding that she would strike out anything which was not relevant to the case.

The recordings, which were at times inaudible, broached several areas, with the majority of them having to deal with Chin's reluctance to agree with Spencer to sign a letter, and the two speaking about several expenditures in relation to the Cuban light-bulb programme.

In several recordings captured in November and December 2007, Chin and Spencer speak about a letter which Spencer wants Chin to sign.

According to Chin, who was asked by Director of Public Prosecution Paula Llewellyn to describe what was said on the tapes, Spencer was trying to persuade him to sign a letter under the auspices of Universal Management Develop-ment Company Limited.

Chin said that Spencer wanted him to sign a letter which would say that the company was responsible for the management of the distributions of the light bulbs under the Cuban programme.

Backdate the letter

Chin also said that Spencer wanted him to backdate the letter to July 2006, when the programme was in operation, but Chin said he was reluctant to do so.

Chin, who eventually signed the letter, said that he was reluctant to do so, as he did not want to sign for a company that was not properly registered.

The conversations between Spencer and Chin also discussed the payment of monies to a non-governmental organisation operated by co-defendant Coleen Wright.

Spencer had wanted Chin to say that expenses charged by Wright's company, Helpline, to the tune of $800,000 were attributed to Alex Chin's (Rodney's brother) enter-tainment venture, ATI.

Chin said he rejected this idea, as he said it would not receive a pass from the other partners in ATI.

Spencer and his former assistant, Coleen Wright, are alleged to have benefited improperly from the implementation of the Cuban light-bulb programme.

Spencer is on nine fraud-related charges while Wright has been slapped with six.

The case continues today.