Witness says Elliott asked him to transfer vehicles in his name
A witness whose name appears on several cheques reportedly drawn on the account of the Manchester Parish Council reappeared in court yesterday to continue giving testimony in the multimillion-dollar fraud trial.
The witness told the court that he had been asked by former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the parish council (now the Manchester Municipal Corporation), Sanja Elliott, to transfer two vehicles in his name.
He said he transferred a Honda CR-V and a Honda Civic in his name at different times after Elliott asked him to.
The witness added that Elliott provided the monies for the transfer and kept the vehicles and the documents in his possession.
He further told the court that he was not aware of how the vehicles were paid for or insured.
On Monday, the witness revealed that he has known Elliott since their high-school days and had received parish council contracts through Elliott between 2013 and 2016.
The witness said he conducted supervisory work on beautification projects between seven and 10 times over the period. He said he also drafted invoices and collected and encashed the cheques.
Under cross-examination, the witness revealed that there might have been inaccurate information in his statements because he misunderstood what the police were asking him at that time and was now using his opportunity on the stand to tell the truth.
The witness said there were some cheques that he knew nothing about and invoices that he did not draft.
He also added that some of the cheques presented to him by the police during questioning had not yet been encashed.
Meanwhile, the detective inspector attached to the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency who had been tasked with finding the subpoenaed former director at the corporation revealed yesterday that he had sought the assistance of the United States Embassy to locate the potential witness.
In seeking to ascertain if the police did enough to find the former director, the defence asked several questions about the efforts that were made.
The witness revealed that he had made attempts to get the application that had been made by the former director for study leave at the Local Government Services Commission and was relying on a system in place at the Passport, Immigration and Citizen Agency to alert him to her return to this jurisdiction.
When asked if he had proof of the message he sent to her via Facebook, he stated that his testimony was the proof.
He was also asked if he was a aware of the fact that one has to supply the full address of the area one intends to stay when travelling to the US. He said he was not aware.
The prosecution and the defence then made several submissions as to whether the initial statement given by the former director before she went off the radar should be admitted.
However, Judge Ann-Marie Grainger said that she would need time to review them before making her ruling, as key areas of this issue brings to light a trial within a trial.
The matter continues next Tuesday in the Manchester Parish Court.