Clerk alerted W&E hierarchy about suspicious documents found in storage
A Works and Engineering clerk told a jury she raised concerns over Kyril Burrows, the man accused of perpetrating a $553,000 fraud against Government along with his wife.
Mikia McGowan said she found suspicious documents relating to a television being purchased and work allegedly carried out at a Government building where she’d not seen renovations being done.
She discovered the documents when clearing out a storage room after Mr Burrows left his job as buildings manager at Works and Engineering. She also discovered copies of invoices that appeared to have been changed and copied.
Mr Burrows is on trial at Supreme Court accused of paying builders with public money for work done on the private home he shared with his wife, Delcina Bean-Burrows, in St George’s.
He is accused of signing payment certificates for contractors on behalf of the Ministry of Works and Engineering and making it look like those builders had been working on Government buildings instead. The builders have told the jury they never worked on those Government buildings.
Mr Burrows is also alleged to have signed payment certificates channelling public money to his wife’s companies Ren Tech and Theravisions for work that had not been done.
The jury also heard yesterday from Ms McGowan that another of Mrs Bean-Burrows’ companies, Health Tech Rennaissance, invoiced Government during her husband’s time at Works and Engineering.
British forensic document examiner Kim Hughes, who specialises in handwriting analysis, told the jury on Wednesday that there was “strong evidence” the payments in question were signed off by Mr Burrows.
Yesterday in her evidence, Ms McGowan, 27, explained she was based at the Works and Engineering depot at Prospect where Mr Burrows worked.
She explained that after Mr Burrows signed payment certificates, a copy of them would be stacked in his office.
As she explained this, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons noted: “Your eyes are getting big.”
Ms McGowan explained: “There were green copies (of payment certificates) tremendously, that he had issued for payment. (They were stacked) all over his office.”
The jury has previously heard evidence from Robert Horton, who was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Works and Engineering, that Mr Burrows quit his job in June 2008 when concerns were raised over his irregular purchase of a 58-inch plasma screen television.
He recalled his concern at the way Mr Burrows used Government purchase orders to obtain the television from M&M electronics store in 2008, and noted his swift exit from his job when his actions were questioned.
Ms McGowan said that around a year after Mr Burrows’ departure, she was tasked with getting rid of all files in the depot records room which were older than seven years so they could be sent to the Government Archives.
Asked by prosecutor Susan Mulligan if she noticed anything unusual when clearing out the records room, she replied that among the files attributed to Mr Burrows: “I found an invoice from M&M for a TV.
“I found copies from Health Tech Renaissance that had been copied multiple times. The information had been deleted and the invoice copied. I found a credit card statement for Ren Tech and just personal junk and green copies of invoices.”
She added that she found an invoice from J&M Construction requesting payment for work at Teucer House on Cedar Avenue. Ms McGowan said this drew her attention because she lived nearby and passed Teucer House, a derelict building, every day.
“I had not seen any work being done at all, but it was an invoice for work that was done,” she explained.
Asked what she did after discovering the documents, she replied: “With the invoice I had found for the TV I want to the administrative office with it because it was suspicious that a TV had been bought at all.”
She explained it was eventually passed on to Stephen Tucker, who replaced Mr Burrows as buildings manager.
“I made sure he got hold of all Kyril’s boxes and files that were left,” she said. Ms McGowan also made a statement to the police about what she found.
In answer to questions from Mr Burrows, she confirmed he used to sign hundreds of payment certificates each week.
Mr and Mrs Burrows deny 35 charges spanning the dates January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009, alleging crimes of cheating, obtaining money transfers by deception, obtaining property by deception, money laundering and false accounting. The case continues.