Accounting clerk to retake stand in $400-m Manchester MC fraud trial

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND
Observer staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 10, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester —Week two of the Manchester Municipal Corporation corruption trial is scheduled to get underway today in the Manchester Parish Court, where an accounting clerk who has been on the stand since last Tuesday afternoon is expected to continue testimony.

The witness, who is the fifth to take the stand to date, is being grilled by the crown counsel as they work through 112 documents brought into evidence, including invoices and vouchers, to verify information such as signatures and handwriting.

When the matter was adjourned on Friday, 63 documents had been reviewed.

The case came about in 2016, when a joint raid by the Financial Investigations Division (FID), the Office of the Contractor General and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) of the corporate offices of the municipal corporation and homes of some senior employees led to arrests and charges in relation to misappropriation of funds.

Last week prosecutors said that the amount in question, which MOCA previously said was $95 million, has now increased to some $400 million.

Former employees of the corporation now on trial are Sanja Elliott, who served as deputy superintendent of the Road and Works Department; former acting secretary manager (chief executive officer) and director of finance David Harris; and former temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts.

Former bank employee Radcliffe McLean, Elliott's former employee Dwayne Sibblies, Elliot's wife Tasha-Gay Goulbourne-Elliott, his mother Myrtle Elliott and father Elwardo Elliott were implicated in the probe and are also now on trial.

Retired Mandeville mayor and chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation Brenda Ramsay was among witnesses who took the stand last week.

The clerk, who is to retake the stand today, is believed to have been the main accounting clerk between 2013-2016 — a key period for the matter. The witness' testimony revealed that a significant number of the documents under review were signed by Sanja Elliott, Kendal Roberts and herself.

Some of the payments were for work done in different council divisions.

Next in line to testify is former deputy mayor Ervin Facey.

The list of scheduled witnesses is expected to be reduced from 59, but the trial is still expected to continue pass the two weeks initially planned.

Presiding judge in the matter is Ann-Marie Grainger.


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