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Elliott’s large cash transactions were unusual, says witness

Published:Tuesday | November 26, 2019 | 12:47 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

A financial forensic examiner yesterday told the court that cash payments made by accused Sanja Elliott raised red flags, as under normal circumstances, such transactions are usually made by cheques.

Continuing to give evidence under cross-examination in the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial yesterday, acting senior financial forensic examiner at the Financial Investigations Division, Desmond Robinson, said the cash payments, which ranged from $200,000 to 750,000, would be classified as unusual.

Attorney after attorney lined up yesterday to poke holes in his credibility and testimony, questioning his expertise as they also challenged him as to why certain checks were not made and documents were excluded from his probe.

Attorney Norman Godfrey asked Robinson if he did enough to see to the whereabouts of delivered construction materials purchased by accused former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the local authority, Sanja Elliott.

Robinson stated that he linked two properties under construction to Elliott.

Godfrey stated the qualifications of his client in construction and asked the witness whether he had done enough to get more information on Elliott’s source of income, to which he responded yes.

LACK OF CERTIFICATION

Last Friday, Godfrey asked Robinson what documents he relied upon for his report. The acting senior financial forensic examiner revealed that a valuation document submitted from a representative of Tax Administration Jamaica was not used, as the information was not relevant to his report.

The attorney yesterday suggested that Robinson did not act independently and impartially as it regards his client and that his methods and expertise were questionable.

Robinson, who holds a Bachelor of Science in management studies and a Master of Science in accounting, was grilled by attorney Danielle Archer, who sought to find out why he was not certified in the field he currently operates in.

“Can you say why, from 2007 to present, you have made no attempts to become a certified fraud examiner?” Archer asked, further querying whether he was aware of institutions that could provide such certification. He said, “No.”

Attorney Delford Morgan then questioned the witness on his experience as an accountant and sought to clarify if his master’s degree in the area was purely academic.

The witness revealed that he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture in the early 1980s as an accountant but has not since worked as a professional accountant.

Morgan asked Robinson why audited statements from the then-named Manchester Parish Council were not relied upon to determine the legitimate earnings of Elliott.

Robinson maintained that such a review was not pertinent to his report.

The matter continues today.

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