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Witness testifies to seeing copies of cheques paid to Kern's firms

Thursday, December 05, 2013    

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A prosecution witness in the Cuban light bulb trial testified yesterday that he was shown several copies of cheques, totalling $80 million, that were paid over to Universal Management Development Company (UMD) by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

The company, the court heard on a previous occasion, was one of several entities established by the former Junior Minister Kern Spencer and his then assistant Colleen Wright, in which the Crown witness acted as "front man". Another is the Caribbean Communication and Media Network (CCMN) that was also mentioned yesterday.

Spencer and Wright are being tried in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on fraud and money-laundering charges linked to the distribution of four million energy-saving bulbs that were a gift from Cuba.

Yesterday, Craig Williams -- former loans officer at the Santa Cruz branch of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) in St Elizabeth -- testified that he was shown copies of the cheques in February 2008 by then head of the Organised Crime Investigations Division, Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey.

The witness also told the court that he gave Bailey certified copies of a manager's cheque and two NCB cheques for $2 million and $2.5 million that were drawn from the accounts of UMD and CCMN, respectively, and made payable to Everol Orr, a justice of the peace from St Elizabeth. He said documents that were used to open both accounts were also handed over to the senior policeman.

This was after he testified that Wright had contacted him about opening the two companies and had sent him the relevant documents.

"Based on the information, Wright was the company secretary for both companies and had Rodney Chin as the signatory," he testified. Chin is the Crown witness in the case.

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