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Large quantity of cheque stubs found at defendants’ house


THE $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial ended on Friday, May 15, 2020 with the conviction of main accused 35-year-old Sanja Elliott, the corporation’s former deputy superintendent of road and works; his wife, Tasha-gaye Goulbourne-Elliott; two former employees of the corporation, David Harris, secretary/manager and acting chief executive officer, and Kendale Roberts, temporary works overseer; as well as Dwayne Sibblies, a former employee of Sanja Elliott.

Those freed at the end of the trial were Sanja Elliott’s mother, Myrtle Elliott, and former commercial bank teller Radcliff McLean.

In January, Sanja Elliott’s father and husband of Myrtle Elliott, Elwardo, was the first to be freed.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud, engaging in a transaction that involves criminal property, several counts of possession of criminal property, facilitating the retention of criminal property, obtaining money by means of false pretence, causing money to be paid out by forged documents, an act of corruption, and uttering forged documents.

The Jamaica Observer continues its publication of the Crown’s closing submission, prepared by prosecutors Channa Ormsby, Patrice Hickson, and Jamelia Simpson, as well as Kamesha Campbell, attorney on fiat from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, and presented to the court in the case against the seven.

 

OTHER CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

 

The Search of 14 Daley’s Grove

[175] On June 24, 2016 a team of police officers from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency led by Deputy Superintendent Cora-Lee Brown-Fowler, which included, among other persons, Sergeant Donovan Simms and Constable Latoyo Davy, conducted a search operation at 14 Daley’s Grove, Knockpatrick, Manchester, the home of Sanja Elliott, Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne-Elliott, and Dwayne Sibblies. Several items were seized and recorded on seizure receipts and a copy provided to Messrs Elliott and Sibblies. The search of the premises was also video recorded.

 

[176] The Crown submits that the items seized during the search tend to support the existence of the criminal enterprise Mr Elliott was operating and the further involvement of Dwayne Sibblies as playing an integral part in this scheme.

 

Manchester Parish Council Documents Found in Dwayne Sibblies’s Room

 

[177] A large quantity of Manchester Parish Council (MPC) cheque stubs/slips in various names and amounts, to include Dave Smith, Dwayne Sibblies, and Roan Johnson were found in the chest of drawers. This evidence was unchallenged.

 

[178] Detective Sergeant Simms testified that he asked Mr Sibblies how he came into possession of these cheque slips and when cautioned he stated: “These are for contractors, and I change them for them,”

The Crown submits and asks the court to find that this admission by Mr Sibblies tends to support his knowledge of the scheme. The Crown further submits that it is for this precise reason that Mr Sibblies signed “D Sibblies” on the cheque made payable to TM (name withheld to protect witness). Notwithstanding that TM had not made that request of him, Mr Sibblies was performing, admittedly, his other role under the scheme as one of the persons who encashed third-party cheques .

 

[179] The Crown submits that a reasonable inference to be drawn from his admission is that he had a large quantity of cheque slips in his drawer because a part of his role in the scheme was to encash third-party cheques. The Court recalls MM (name withheld to protect witness) testified that both Messrs Elliott and Sibblies told her that “they have a friend in the bank”. We submit that it is this friend that makes the encashment of third-party cheques possible. We ask the court to find that this friend is Mr McLean since he called her from the back of the line where she was standing with Mr Sibblies. It is not mere coincidence that these cheque stubs were found in his room.

 

MPC Documents Found in the Kitchen

[180] Manchester Parish Council payment voucher and invoices in the names Dave Smith, TB (name withheld to protect witness), Trevor Peart, Racquel Butt, and AF (name withheld to protect witness) were found in the kitchen.

The evidence reveal that exhibit 74, which comprises of payment voucher 31418, attaching contractor invoice dated 22/4/2014, and MPC invoice dated 28/4/2014 were found in the kitchen. The cheque generated in support of this was found at the council during the search. The evidence before the court is that AF encashed the cheque and gave the proceeds to Mr Elliott, and that he did not perform work in the Knockpatrick area.

 

Manchester Parish Council Cheque Attaching Stubs Found in Suzuki Jimny Motor Vehicle

 

[181] Deputy Superintendent Cora-Lee Brown-Fowler testified that Mr Elliott used a key to open a white Suzuki Jimny registered 9509GN which was parked in the yard. A white envelope containing 10 MPC cheques with stubs and dated June 23, 2016, in the names Dwayne Sibblies, TB, Mervin Barrett, TM, Carlington Woodley, Dowaine Owen, and AF were found between the handbrake and the driver’s seat of this Suzuki Jimny registered to Mr Elliott. Also, a blue receipt book was beside it spine down.

 

[182] The unchallenged evidence of TB, AF, and TM is that they were not owed any money and as such did not instruct anyone to collect this cheque on their behalves. It bears repeating that TB testified that the last time she was engaged to carry out work for the council was in 2014. It is instructive that Mr Elliott would have these cheques with stubs in his possession. The unchallenged evidence of Miss Ramsay and Mr Facey is that an employee of the council is not authorised to collect cheques on behalf of a payee. Mr Elliott did not address the issue of the cheques found in his Suzuki Jimny or any other Manchester Parish Council documents found at his house in his unsworn statement.

• What are the circumstances in which these came into his possession?

• What did he intend to do with these uncashed cheques, especially in light of the evidence that the witnesses were not owed any money?

 

[183] The Crown invites the court to find, based on the circumstances outlined, that he had these in his possession because he intended to have them encashed in furtherance of his criminal enterprise. The Crown submits that, having regarding to all the circumstances set out in respect of the count of conspiracy to defraud, there is abundant cogent and substantive evidence from which the court can draw inferences that the accused persons together and with other persons unknown conspired to defraud the council in the manner and by the means set out in the count.

 

[184] It is clear from the evidence that Sanja Elliott, Kendale Roberts, and Radcliff Mclean were all employed to the council and knew each other. Based on the circumstances surrounding the encashment of the cheques, coupled with the evidence of MM, the reasonable inference can be drawn that Radcliff McLean, Dwayne Sibblies, and Sanja Elliott all knew each other and were part and parcel of this grand conspiracy.

TOMORROW: The Crown starts outlining the counts against the defendants

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