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Bank teller on fraud charge offered $1-m bail

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND
Observer staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 22, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Mandeville — Radcliffe McLean, the 43-year-old bank teller who was charged in connection with the ongoing corruption probe at the Manchester Municipal Corporation, formerly Manchester Parish Council, was offered $1 million bail yesterday.

He made his first appearance in the Manchester Parish Court after being charged Monday by detectives of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) for conspiracy to defraud.

McLean is the latest person to have been implicated in the probe at the corporation.

MOCA has alleged that members of the corporation used their positions to misappropriate millions of dollars for their benefit and that of their associates.

Already, former deputy superintendent of road and works Sanja Elliott, his wife, mother and father Elwardo; Dwayne Sibblies, who was a caretaker at a property owned by Elliott; former acting secretary/manager and director of finance at the corporation David Harris; and temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts have been answering to corruption charges before the court.

According to MOCA, McLean allegedly conspired with Elliott and Sibblies to process fraudulent cheques drawn on the account of the Manchester Municipal Corporation.

He was employed at a bank in Mandeville. It is alleged that McLean did not follow the procedures of the bank in more than 50 cheque transactions amounting to $50 million.

Since he was a bank teller, his attorney Joel Nelson implied that he would not have had the autonomy to undertake the fraudulent transactions for which he is accused, because he would have been answerable to others.

Among the conditions of McLean's bail are that he should report to the police station at designated times in Porus, where he resides, and that he will not be able to travel outside of the country.

Sanja Elliott, his father Elwardo, Harris, Sibblies, and Roberts also appeared in court yesterday and had their bails extended. They are scheduled to return to court on May 30.

The court appearances in relation to the corruption probe started in 2016.

Yesterday, parish judge Desiree Alleyne expressed concern about the pace at which the prosecution was handling the matter.

The prosecutor mentioned that the challenges that have resulted in the delay include the need to get the assessment of a handwriting expert and that the prosecution is still awaiting a statement from the contractor general.

In relation to her client David Harris, attorney Danielle Archer said she was not aware that a specimen was taken in order for a handwriting expert to give an evaluation.

A Jamaica Observer source said that Elliott's wife and mother will make their next court appearance in March, to answer to their charges in relation to the probe.

The investigation is being carried out jointly by MOCA, the Office of the Contractor General and the Financial Investigation Division.

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