Mystery payments

Witness at Manchester fraud trial says he's not aware of vouchers bearing his name

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND
Observer staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A witness who took the stand at the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial yesterday denied knowledge of two roadwork projects for which payment vouchers bearing his name exist, and told the court that the signatures on the vouchers were not his.

However, he admitted doing carpentry work for the local government body for which he was remunerated.

The middle-aged man testified that his services had been retained by the corporation to repair doors, make and install door jambs at the Manchester Infirmary.

He said he had done work at the infirmary more than once but it was only on one occasion that he had been assigned to do the job by one of the accused Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent of the Road and Works Department at the corporation.

According to the witness, he was paid by cheques for all the jobs he completed for the corporation.

He told the court that he had also done work on Elliott's home at Daley's Grove, Knockpatrick, but on that occasion had been employed by someone who was working for Elliott and the person had paid him in cash.

When lead prosecutor Channa Ormbsy questioned him about two payment vouchers bearing his name, for water delivery and road maintenance done for the corporation, the witness said that he was not aware of those projects.

She made several attempts to determine if he was actually paid for the work outlined on the payment vouchers.

“I don't do road work,” he said, looking at the voucher for the road maintenance work, while the prosecutor probed.

He said it was not his signature on the documents.

Defence counsel cautioned the prosecutor about her line of questioning, arguing that it could prejudice the accused.

Elliott is one of eight accused on trial for the alleged misappropriation of funds from the corporation. All accused are facing charges including forgery, conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money under false pretence.

Ormbsy strongly defended her line of questioning to presiding judge Ann-Marie Grainger, assuring her that the questions she was asking were relevant to building her case.

The witness told the court that he could not recall specifics, such as the exact periods that he had done work for the corporation and how much he had been paid in each instance.

Grainger, in providing guidance to the prosecutor, said there will be situations in which she does not get the desired responses but will still have to move on.

The carpenter, who said he is a “far relative” of Elliott, ended his testimony yesterday.

A police officer from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency was recalled to the stand.

However, he is scheduled to return to continue his testimony tomorrow.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT