Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Handwriting expert told to ignore some cheques, court hears

Published:Friday | October 25, 2019 | 12:10 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

A handwriting expert has revealed that she was instructed not to examine certain cheques presented to her by law-enforcement officers probing a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme at the Manchester Municipal Corporation.

Taking the stand yesterday to continue giving testimony in the Manchester Parish Court, the witness said the cheques were among other documents she was asked to review.

She said her job was to compare the signatures of key persons from other documents given to her and that the content of the files was irrelevant to her duties.

The handwriting expert said she received the documents in batches, recalling that one had 267 cheques.

Attorney Danielle Archer questioned whether the batch of 267 cheques was the one she was instructed to not examine.

However, the witness said she could not confirm this as she could not remember the date on which she had received that particular batch.

The witness was later asked if she was presented with handwriting specimens from former Mandeville mayor and deputy mayor of the corporation, Brenda Ramsay, or Ervin Facey among the list of references she had been given. She said no.

The handwriting expert is the 37th witness to have taken the stand since the matter began in June.

Four additional witnesses are set to take the stand, with another two to be recalled.

The Crown is alleging that former Deputy Superintendent of Roads and Works Sanja Elliott colluded with his then colleagues – David Harris, former secretary/manager, and Kendale Roberts, temporary works overseer – to defraud the local government authority of more than $400 million through the use of fictitious invoices.

Elliott’s wife, Tashagay, and his parents, Edwardo and Myrtle, are also on trial, along with Dwayne Sibbles, a carpenter, and Radcliffe McLean, a bank teller accused of facilitating the encashment of fraudulent cheques.

All eight have denied wrongdoing.

The matter continues on November 4 in the Manchester Parish Court.