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Principal, custodians tell fraud trial their schools were not worked on after Hurricane Florence

A series of school staff members told a fraud trial that no work was done at their schools to install safety hoardings during Hurricane Florence in 2006.

The issue of hoardings is one of the topics at the heart of the prosecution case against former Works and Engineering manager Kyril Burrows and his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows.

Between them, they are accused of defrauding Government of more than $553,000.

Opening the case last month, prosecutor Susan Mulligan told the jury Mr Burrows directed Government funds to his wife’s company Ren Tech under the false premise it would carry out work to install hoardings at schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

“You will be hearing evidence from school principal after school principal, caretaker after caretaker, that no such hoarding was done at schools for which hoarding invoices were submitted by Ren Tech,” said Ms Mulligan.

Yesterday, the trial heard from several witnesses who work at Government schools.

Ken Outerbridge, from Hamilton Parish, said he has been the custodian at Francis Patton Primary School in that parish for about 20 years.

He said he remembered Hurricane Florence, which struck Bermuda on September 11, 2006.

He confirmed, in answer to a question from Ms Mulligan, that the school was not boarded up at any point during the hurricane. He added that he did not know of any company called Ren Tech.

Frank Smith, of Sandys, has been the custodian at Somerset Primary School for more than 20 years. He said the school was not boarded up due to the oncoming Hurricane Florence.

When asked if her school windows were boarded up, Lisa Smith, principal of Harrington Sound Primary School, replied: “That’s not a protocol we have ever used. That’s not a precaution that’s in our manual in terms of the safety manual.”

She confirmed the windows were not boarded up during Florence.

In addition to the claims that the couple pocketed money for hoardings that were not erected, Mr Burrows is further accused of dishonestly submitting invoices so Government paid to rebuild the house he shared in St George’s with his wife.

And, it is alleged, he spent Government cash on televisions later discovered in the couple’s home.

Mr Burrows and Mrs Bean-Burrows deny 35 charges between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2009, alleging crimes of cheating, obtaining money transfers by deception, obtaining property by deception, money laundering and false accounting.

The case continues.

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Published March 29, 2012 at 9:46 am (Updated March 29, 2012 at 9:45 am)

Principal, custodians tell fraud trial their schools were not worked on after Hurricane Florence

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