‘Persecution’ not ‘Prosecution’
ATTORNEYS representing former Sagicor executive Alysia Moulton White are livid that the prosecution is yet to make full disclosure of critical material to them with the trial set to resume in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court today.
Moulton White, a former vice-president of group marketing at Sagicor, is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud, unlawfully making available data or device for the commission of an offence, engaging in a transaction that involved a criminal offence, and receiving stolen property in relation to $661,000, which was sent to one of her bank accounts.
Her co-accused are her sister Tricia Moulton, the former manager of Sagicor Bank’s Liguanea branch; personal banker Malika McLeod; and Tishan Samuels, a client care officer. They are facing fraud charges relating to an alleged $65 million said to have been milked from clients’ accounts.
The four have pleaded not guilty and attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, who is representing Moulton White, is disappointed that items his team has requested are yet to be turned over to them.
“She has been arrested 10 months now and we are going into court Thursday against a background where we have asked repeatedly, starting seven days after her arrest on the 14th of December, to be provided with the video footage of the banking hall of the Sagicor branch in Liguanea, where it is alleged the fraud took place.
“We have not been able to get this, although we asked one week after her arrest and repeatedly, in writing and orally to the judge, for the banking hall footage because there were withdrawals and lodgements done on particular dates and we know that our client did not go into the bank on those dates at all,” Samuels told the Jamaica Observer.
“These were unlawful and unauthorised transactions in [Moulton White’s] account of which she knows nothing. And therefore we thought that the footage in the banking hall would have settled the matter definitively where the prosecution would say, ‘Ouch, we are wrong, she didn’t have anything to do with these transactions’,” added Samuels.
According to Samuels, because Moulton White is now facing a “persecution” and not a “prosecution”, the evidence that would vindicate her is being suppressed.
He said because he was well aware that the video footage could go missing over time, he was sure to request it days after Moulton White was arrested.
Samuels told the Observer he would not be surprised if the footage is not presented to the defence when they return to court today.
“Also, we were told that there is a forensic report which, naturally, we have an interest in to see how the transactions went and the forensic auditor would be able to show the footprints of who it is that trespassed on the bank’s money but that has also not yet come to us,” said Samuels.
The veteran attorney questioned if the Moulton White case is similar to many others locally where people are arrested before the investigations are done. He argued that oftentimes the arrest is a standalone event and not as a result of an investigation which found that the person has done wrong.
“Because, here it is, our client is being accused of stealing less than half of her monthly salary. A high-ranking official of Sagicor is going to compromise her life, her reputation, her future by stealing half of her month’s pay in a scam which is $66 million. Is it because she bears the name of her co-accused? We are trying to see what the motive is,” added Samuels.
He told the Observer that since the accused has a constitutional right to be provided with all material by the prosecution, his team is of the opinion that the failure to provide the video footage and other material to help them prepare their defence renders the process unfair.