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Burrows spent $31k using government credit card

A civil servant accused of misappropriating public funds racked up more than $31,000 in unauthorised charges on his government credit card, a jury heard.

Former Works and Engineering Buildings Manager Kyril Burrows, 48, is on trial at Supreme Court with his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows, 49. They are accused of defrauding Government of more than $553,000 of money between them to live a lifestyle beyond their means.

The charges they face span the period January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009.

Mr Burrows is accused of dishonestly submitting invoices so Government paid a construction company to rebuild the house he and his wife shared in Turkey Hill, St George’s.

Mr and Mrs Burrows are further alleged to have illegally funnelled Government cash to her companies Ren Tech and Theravisions.

Accountant General Joyce Hayward has been giving evidence for the prosecution since Tuesday. She’s already told the jury Mr Burrows allegedly breached the Financial Instructions rules that bind civil servants in relation to the charges he faces.

Yesterday, she revealed he’d previously been caught breaching the Financial Instructions after an investigation in February 2005 into government credit cards. Ms Hayward explained the cards are issued to employees who have to travel on business, and they are not supposed to be used for personal expenses.

She said an audit conducted by her department found Mr Burrows used his government credit card to rack up $7,691.26 in local charges between May 5, 2003 and January 16, 2005.

“According to Financial Instructions, the credit card is not supposed to be used for local purchases at all unless it’s been pre-approved,” said Ms Hayward. “There was no authorisation.”

She told the jury Mr Burrows was also discovered to have spent $8,191.13 on local cash advances and related finance charges.

“Pulling money off the credit cards locally is not permitted under Financial Instructions and the fees charged should not have been charged,” she said.

She told the jury a further $15,217.85 was spent by Mr Burrows on “questionable” and “personal” expenses overseas.

Asked by prosecutor Kirsty-Ann Kiellor to list some of these, Ms Hayward said they related to “luggage”, and “motion pictures” and “the Magic Kingdom” and “Skechers clothing” and “golf”.

At this point, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons interjected: “Alright, we get the idea”.

Ms Hayward said those transactions were a breach of the Financial Instructions.

She went on to explain that Mr Burrows made repayments totalling $21,833.73 to the bank for the credit card. However, she said, that left $9,266.51 owing to Government.

When the issue was uncovered, Mr Burrows was placed on paid leave from February 14, 2005. A meeting was held with him three days later. Ms Hayward told the jury Mr Burrows admitted responsibility for incurring personal charges and agreed to pay back the $9,266.51 owed to Government.

He arrived with a bank draft for the money around two hours later and agreed to submit a personal statement admitting he had contravened Financial Instructions through unauthorised expenditure.

In the statement, dated February 21, 2005, Mr Burrows wrote: “I would like to acknowledge that your office, the Accountant General’s office, has given me a serious warning regarding the matter of my past usage of this card for business and personal use as it related to Financial Instructions. Upon your direction, the chief surveyor, my immediate manager, has issued to me the most current copy of the Financial Instructions for my review, familiarisation and full understanding.”

He said he “clearly understood” that he must abide by the rules in future and added: “Personally I am committed not to find myself in such a position again.”

He was taken off paid leave and reinstated to his job that same day, said Ms Hayward, and his credit card privileges were withdrawn.

He is not facing criminal charges over misusing the credit card. Mr and Mrs Burrows deny the 35 charges they do face, alleging crimes of cheating, obtaining money transfers by deception, obtaining property by deception, money laundering and false accounting.

The case continues.

Left: Delcina Bean-Burrows and Kyril Burrows went on trial at Supreme Court for alleged fraud. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 23, 2012 at 10:08 am (Updated March 23, 2012 at 10:07 am)

Burrows spent $31k using government credit card

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