Judge says Manchester fraud trial could go into 2020

BY JONATHAN MORRISON
Observer writer

Saturday, November 09, 2019

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PORUS, Manchester — Parish judge Ann Marie Grainger, who is presiding over the $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial, says there is a likelihood that the matter will extend into 2020.

The judge made the observation yesterday in Porus, where the case is being heard, following Thursday's early-morning fire which destroyed a section of the Manchester Parish Court building in Mandeville, disrupting the schedule of cases to be heard.

Judge Grainger has, meanwhile, rescheduled the appearance of retired mayor of Mandeville Brenda Ramsay and her former deputy, councillor Ervin Facey, who were to return to the witness stand yesterday. The two are now scheduled to appear before the court on Monday, November 18, when the hearing resumes at the Porus courthouse.

The two former council officers had given evidence at the outset of the trial in June, but have been recalled to the witness stand on the request of defence lawyers who are representing the eight individuals facing the court on corruption charges on allegations of a conspiracy to defraud the municipality of some $400 million.

Also in court yesterday, a long-disputed deposition of an absent Crown witness was admitted into evidence by the judge, who overruled the objections of the defence. The court also heard evidence from expert witness Desmond Robinson, acting senior financial forensic examiner of the Financial Investigation Division.

Robinson testified that the statement of Darcia Roach, the absent witness whose deposition was admitted into evidence by the judge, was one of the documents he relied on to inform himself of the income level of main accused Sanja Elliott, the corporation's former deputy superintendent of road and works.

The witness said that three members of Elliott's family – his wife Tasha Gay, his parents Edwardo and Myrtle – and an employee Dwayne Sibblies were also “targets” of his investigations. He told the court that he investigated the financial transaction history of his targets, dating back to 2007, and up to 2016. The witness will continue his evidence on November 18.

The other accused are former employees of the corporation, David Harris, secretary manager and director of finance; and Kendale Roberts, works overseer; and former bank employee Radcliffe McLean.


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