Crown says why Sanja Elliott cannot be believed

Crown says why Sanja Elliott cannot be believed

Monday, May 25, 2020

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THE $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation (MPC) fraud trial ended on Friday, May 15, 2020 with the conviction of main accused 35-year-old Sanja Elliott, the corporation's former deputy superintendent of road and works; his wife, Tasha-gaye Goulbourne-Elliott; two former employees of the corporation, David Harris, secretary/manager and acting chief executive officer, and Kendale Roberts, temporary works overseer; as well as Dwayne Sibblies, a former employee of Sanja Elliott.

Those freed at the end of the trial were Sanja Elliott's mother, Myrtle Elliott, and former commercial bank teller Radcliff McLean.

In January, Sanja Elliott's father and husband of Myrtle Elliott, Elwardo, was the first to be freed.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud, engaging in a transaction that involves criminal property, several counts of possession of criminal property, facilitating the retention of criminal property, obtaining money by means of false pretences, causing money to be paid out by forged documents, an act of corruption, and uttering forged documents.

The Jamaica Observer continues its publication of the Crown's closing submission – prepared by prosecutors Channa Ormsby, Patrice Hickson, and Jamelia Simpson and presented to the court in the case against the seven.


[28] Mr Elliott stated that he has been employed by the Manchester Parish Council since 2007 as a building officer and was promoted in 2012. He also freelances as a draftsman where he provided building designs to clients at various costs, depending on the size of the project. That he also provides contractor and consultancy work for individuals and construction companies including Elegance, M&A Construction, Leewall Construction, amongst others. He alleges that evidence of this is on his computer seized by police, which they still have in their possession.

[29] He also indicated that he engages in the buying and selling of used cars as an additional business scheme. That he is the manager of Chambers Lumber Yard (owner and wife deceased).

He also stated he is the manager of an appliance and furniture store known as Chambers Perfect Homes (owner and wife deceased). This he says resulted in monies being deposited to his account, and this continued up to the death of his aunt in 2016.

[30] That when he was promoted to deputy superintendent in 2012 he gained exposure to additional persons requiring assistance for private construction purposes. Some he took on personally and some he recommended to his father and other private contractors, for which he received a commission. He indicated that he never benefited nor received any cash from cheques encashed by Tyrone Merchant, Aldane Foster, Natasha Heron, Melissa McFarlane or anyone else. The large purchases of building material on his credit card statement as well as receipts showing payment for construction work are due to his continued involvement in private construction, as well as purchases he made for other contractors that gave him the benefit of free travel points. That he never defrauded the Manchester Parish Council nor have there been any such reports. That all he did was to execute his duties and implement works and projects based on instructions written, and verbal at times, and programmes submitted by councillors, MPs, and CEOs over the period. These programmes normally come in the form of hard copy, sometimes via e-mail, and informally via SMS or WhatsApp message.

Refuting Sanja Elliott's Unsworn Statement

[31] The first and most obvious point to note is that Mr Elliott has not addressed the WhatsApp messages between himself and David Harris or as between himself and WhatsApp handle “Kendale”. There is no information as to the elusive context that the court should use when considering its decision; this in light of the fact of full disclosure of the readable and binary format of the messages on the defence.

[32] The second point is, how does Mr Elliott, without a scintilla of evidence, attempt to account for how he came by the millions in his account? Not surprisingly, in relation to the alleged draftsman work, all that evidence is on a laptop taken from him. Your Honour has heard the unshaken evidence of Detective Corporal Fabian Parnell, his attempts to investigate whether Mr Elliott's assertions were true relative to him being a used car salesman and a draftsman. Nothing else was indicated to Detective Corporal Parnell by Mr Elliott in accounting for his wealth.

Draftsman and used car salesman

[33] Mr Elliot, after being cautioned, told Detective Corporal Parnell that he did several drawings but could not recall offhand the names of persons he had done drawings for. He had no receipts, no evidence as to him doing any drawings. Suddenly and conveniently, the evidence of him doing draftsman work is on his computer but he doesn't have the computer, the police have it. What of the Manchester Parish Council where these drawings are to be lodged? There were none lodged there as being a drawing of Mr Elliott.

[34] He also indicated that he is a used car salesman and told this information to Detective Corporal Parnell but could produce not even one receipt of a car he sold. He could not say who he sold cars to; Corporal Parnell went in search of his used car sale dealership or persons who sold cars for Mr Elliott, visiting several used car marts – to no avail. Detective Corporal Parnell made checks on the Trade Board website to see whether Mr Elliott had a licence to trade in imported vehicles and found no record of this. Checks were also made with the Motor Vehicle Registry to ascertain vehicles registered to Sanja Elliott. After looking on the documents, checks were made with the customs brokers listed on the import documents to ascertain whether they imported vehicles for or on behalf of Mr Elliot, but this was yet another dead end.

[35] But lo! The handwriting on the wall! Mr Elliot's friend of over 15 years, Mr Aldane Foster, who is a used car salesman, does not know of Mr Elliott buying and selling used cars. In fact, what has been revealed is that Mr Elliot used Mr Aldane Foster to conceal motor vehicles he bought. Now, ask yourself, Your Honour, why would a used car salesman use Mr Foster to conceal motor vehicles that he had the beneficial ownership of, if in fact he himself was a used car salesman? This is because he was not a used car salesman. In addition, would there be a need for him to ask Mr Foster to sell two vehicles that were registered to him [Sanja Elliott]?

[36] The Crown humbly submits that Mr Elliott was not engaged in any draftsman work, neither was he engaging in any used car sales. These phantom businesses are just an attempt to disguise the fact he had received large sums of monies from encashed MPC cheques given to him by so-called contractors who did not work for the council, but handed over the monies to him at his behest.

The furniture and appliance store and the lumber yard

[37] It is commonly said that “dead men tell no tales”, and that is proven through the assertion of Mr Elliot. Where is the evidence of these dealing and managing of companies/businesses?

Work in private construction

[38] This is just another attempt to account for the monies that Mr Elliott defrauded from the council. The question can be asked, Your Honour, of all these private constructions that he claims to have been engaged in, where can they be traced? So let us say that Mr Elliott is to be believed, and in fact, all the credit cards were used in relation to his private construction. How is it that not one of his clients has repaid him using a cheque or wire transfer? How is it all deposits to his accounts are cash deposits predominantly done by him, save and except for his legal emoluments? How is it there is no proof of any of these contractors paying Mr Elliott by any other means?

[39] Mr Elliot also states that the receipts contained in exhibit 2014 evidences him paying expenses relative to these private construction projects; but how is it that on the receipts there are no distinctions as to which project each receipt is in relation to?

[40] Miss Darcia Roache's evidence is that Mr Elliott did not make an application for moonlighting, which is obtaining permission to do additional work outside his employment at the council. Certainly, if Mr Elliott is to be believed, where would he have found time to be doing so much work?

[41] We submit that Mr Elliott is not being truthful and cannot be believed. Evidence led from Deputy Superintendent Cora-Lee Brown-Fowler is that a receipt in the amount of $12,000 for the purchase of a ram goat was found at Mr Elliott's residence. This speaks volumes of how well Mr Elliott is able to account, yet he asserts all these other business ventures he was a part of but has not produced even a scintilla of evidence in that regard.

[42] Your Honour should consider why the witnesses of fact came to court, all of them with consistent accounts as to their interaction with Mr Elliott, and likewise, consistent accounts in relation to Mr Elliott's conduct. We commend them to Your Honour as witnesses of truth; their evidence is consistent and they have not been discredited. Mr Elliott, on the other hand, is clutching at straws; his account is woefully wanting. It should also be noted, like Mr Harris, Mr Elliott also sits on the Finance Committee and plays an integral role in the management of the council's affairs.

TOMORROW: The case against Dwayne Sibblies, Tasha-gaye Goulbourne-Elliott, and Kendale Roberts

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