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Witness insists he submitted invoices for work at defendants’ property

A former Works and Engineering manager accused of using public money to get his private home renovated pointed out that invoices at the centre of the case make no reference to the home.

Prosecutors allege that construction worker John White was hired by Kyril Burrows to build his private home in Turkey Hill, St George’s.

Mr White testified earlier in the Supreme Court trial that Mr Burrows told him the residence, which had a swimming pool and underground car park, was a home office for Works and Engineering.

According to him, Mr Burrows instructed him to keep all his invoices under $3,000.

As an example, he said, instead of submitting a single invoice for $30,000, he was required to submit ten or 15 invoices of $2,800 or $2,900 each.

Mr White showed the jury a number of invoices for figures of $3,000 and below during his evidence for the Crown.

They are marked “Kyril Burrows, Buildings Manager, Works and Engineering”.

Mr Burrows said he sent these to Works and Engineering in respect of the Turkey Hill work.

However, the jury also saw Government cheque stubs relating to payments Mr White received.

The stubs listed the payments as being made for work at various Government buildings including St David’s Post Office and Dellwood School. Mr White told the jury he did not do any work at those buildings.

In her opening speech in the case on February 22, prosecutor Susan Mulligan suggested Mr White was asked to keep his invoices below $3,000 because that was within the amount Mr Burrows was authorised to spend on Government projects.

She alleged that Mr Burrows provided incorrect information on the payment certificates to deceive the Accountant General’s Department into thinking the cash was going toward Government projects.

Yesterday, cross examining Mr White on his evidence, Mr Burrows pointed out that none of the invoices Mr White said he submitted to Works and Engineering for Turkey Hill for items such as “mason” and “labour,” had the words Turkey Hill written on them.

The witness agreed. He explained that the client he was working for was “Works and Engineering” so that is what he wrote on the invoice.

Mr White also agreed that the invoices were not stamped anywhere as having been received by the Accountant General’s department.

He agreed there was no reference anywhere on the documents to a “purchase order” or “progress payment”.

The trial has heard from Mr Burrows that purchase orders must be capped at $3,000 in order for them to be paid by Government. “Progress payments” for contracts can be for larger amounts.

Mr White insisted the invoices in question were submitted in respect of his work at Turkey Hill and he was paid for that work.

He agreed he got further documents through from Government after he had been paid, but said he did not look at them because he had already been paid and there was no need.

Mr White agreed with Mr Burrows that the Accountant General issues cheques on behalf of the Government of Bermuda and they come with cheque stubs.

Showing Mr White one of the Government cheque stubs relating to St David’s Post Office and Dellwood School, the witness agreed they came from the Accountant General’s Department.

He agreed he had not seen any cheque stubs presented to the trial that referred to Turkey Hill or St George’s.

He also agreed with Mr Burrows’ suggestions that he is an honest, trustworthy, dependable person.

Mr Burrows, 48, and his wife Delcina Bean Burrows, 49, are accused of defrauding Government of more than $553,000 between them.

They have pleaded not guilty to 35 charges spanning the period between January 2005 and July 2008, encompassing allegations of cheating, obtaining money transfers by deception, obtaining property by deception, money laundering and false accounting.

The couple do not have lawyers and are defending themselves. The case continues.

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Published March 19, 2012 at 10:00 am (Updated March 19, 2012 at 9:59 am)

Witness insists he submitted invoices for work at defendants’ property

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