Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial resumes todayMonday, July 08, 2019
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Manchester Municipal Corporation corruption trial, which has been on a break since June 26, is scheduled to resume today.
The trial started in the Manchester Parish Court on June 3 for fraud allegations in excess of $400 million at the local government body.
In 2016, the case opened after a joint raid of corporate offices of the Corporation and homes of some senior employees by investigators from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), the Financial Investigations Division and the Integrity Commission (formerly the Office of the Contractor General).
The investigation continued, leading to the eight accused, now on trial, being arrested and charged in relation to the direct or indirect involvement in the alleged misappropriation of funds.
The accused are former deputy superintendent of the Road and Works Department Sanja Elliott, former director of finance and acting chief executive officer (secretary/manager) David Harris, former temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts, former bank employee Radcliffe McLean, former employee of Elliott Dwayne Sibblies, Elliott's wife Tasha-Gay Goulbourne-Elliott and his parents Elwardo and Myrtle Elliott.
The charges include forgery, conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money under false pretenses and facilitation of the retention of criminal property.
More than ten witnesses have testified in the case to date, including retired Mandeville Mayor Brenda Ramsay, former deputy mayor and current councillor (People's National Party- Spur Tree Division in North Western Manchester) Ervin Facey, a representative from the Integrity Commission, a representative from MOCA and an accounting clerk from the Corporation.
At least four witnesses, some claiming to be friends of the former deputy superintendent of Road and Works, have admitted under sworn testimony to cashing cheques drawn on the Municipal Corporation's account in their name for work they have not done.
One young woman estimated that she has encashed some 40 cheques amounting to about $15 million, as instructed by accused Sanja Elliott, for work she did not perform.
She admitted under cross-examination that she misinformed police investigators in a statement to them, saying that she was a contractor in charge of beautification projects for the Corporation, because Elliott said that is the information she should give and she was doing him a favour as his friend.
Defence attorney Norman Godfrey is representing accused Sanja Elliott, his wife Tasha-Gay Goulbourne-Elliott and his former employee Dwayne Sibblies.
His parents are being represented by Delford Morgan, attorney Danielle Archer is representing David Harris, Samoi Campbell is representing Kendale Roberts and Joel Nelson is representing Radcliffe McLean.
Two young crown counsels from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are leading the prosecution team and parish judge Ann-Marie Grainger is presiding in the matter.
Paula Llewellyn, director of public prosecutions, sat in on the trial proceedings twice, since it began.
The trial has been alternating between the Manchester Parish Court in Mandeville and the courthouse in Porus.
The case is expected to take place in Mandeville today.
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