Lawyers question witness about conflict of interestWednesday, October 02, 2019
MANDEVILLE, Manchester – A chartered quantity surveyor and expert witness for the Crown in the Manchester Municipal Corporation's multimillion-dollar fraud trial, declined at first to say if he had been granted permission by then Contractor General Dirk Harrison to continue his private practice while he worked for the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).
The witness, Richard Campbell, who told the court he was also a commissioned officer at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), was questioned yesterday by defence attorneys in the multimillion-dollar Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud case about the possibility of a conflict of interest in his private practice, his JDF status and his current role as manager of the Technical Service Department of the Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission had subsumed the OCG.
Campbell, who on Monday began giving testimony in the Porus courthouse – an alternative venue for the trial since it began earlier this year – was being cross-examined yesterday in Mandeville, first by defence attorneys Norman Godfrey, and Danielle Archer.
The witness was asked whether the former contractor general had given him permission to work for the OCG when he was contracted at the same time worked privately as a quantity surveyor. The witness at first said he would not respond to the question, but later agreed that it was while Harrison was contractor general that he was allowed to carry on his private practice while employed to the then OCG.
Campbell's role in the case before the court was in his capacity as a quantity surveyor, requiring him to take measurements of a dwelling house in Daley Grove, Manchester. He defended his association with the OCG, stating that he made it known to the OCG that he was not prepared to give up his private work while contracted to the OCG. He said it was up to the OCG to decide whether there was a conflict of interest.
In his testimony yesterday at the Manchester Parish Court, Campbell said he estimated the value of the house in Daley's Grove, Manchester at $69 million.
Eight persons, including three former senior personnel of the Municipal Corporation, are on trial in the Manchester Parish Court before Parish Judge Ann Marie Grainger on charges related to an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Manchester council of more than $400m.
Those before the court are former municipal corporation senior staff members Sanjae Elliott, David Harris, and Kendale Roberts; Sanja Elliott's wife Tasha Gay; his parents Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott; an employee of Sanja Elliott, Dwayne Sibblies; and bank employee Radcliffe McLean.
The trial resumes today at the Porus Resident Magistrate's Court.
— Jonathan Morrison
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