FID targets assets of five sentenced in Manchester fraud trial

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FID targets assets of five sentenced in Manchester fraud trial

Convicts set to appear in Manchester Circuit Court in September

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Sunday Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 02, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Sanja Elliott, who was last Monday sentenced to five years' imprisonment for multimillion-dollar fraud at Manchester Municipal Corporation, and four co-convicts, are to face the Manchester Circuit Court on September 16 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Parish Judge Ann-Marie Grainger granted the Financial Investigations Division (FID) committal of all five convicts to the Supreme Court during last week's sentencing hearing.

Elliott's co-convicts are former secretary manager and acting CEO of the municipal corporation David Harris, who was sentenced to 16 months in prison at hard labour; former temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts who was sentenced to 18 months at hard labour; carpenter/gardener Dwayne Sibbles who was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment at hard labour on the count of conspiracy to defraud; and TashaGaye Goulbourne-Elliott, wife of Sanja Elliott, who got a non-custodial sentence and was fined $3 million.

All five were initially convicted on May 15.

The committal application, which was made by attorney Gwayne Gray representing the FID, was unsuccessfully challenged by attorney Norman Godfrey who represented Elliott, Goulbourne-Elliott and Sibbles.

The FID is seeking to forfeit assets of the convicts based on the Proceeds of Crime Act which defines a criminal lifestyle, following what is considered to be the largest fraud case of a municipal authority in Jamaica.

Gray explained to the Jamaica Observer by telephone that, “If there is no asset for forfeit then there is a pecuniary penalty order that the judge may grant…They were all convicted of offences that were stated under the second schedule of the Proceeds of Crime Act to be having a criminal lifestyle...a lot of investigations are taking place to ascertain whatever transactions they have engaged in for the last ten years. The Act presumes that once you have a criminal lifestyle, everything for the past 10 years since the commencement of the Act has been acquired through criminal benefit.”

The closely watched 11-month fraud trial has triggered widespread debate about the confines of the law in dealing with corruption.

Judge Grainger in sentencing Elliott, whom she described as the “ringmaster”, said “The maximum fines are not sufficient as it relates to Sanja Elliott.”

Those freed at the end of the 11-month-long trial were Sanja Elliott's mother, Myrtle Elliott, and former commercial bank teller Radcliffe McLean.


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