Supervisor would not have authorised purchase of plasma TV, fraud trial hears
Kyril Burrows never asked his supervisor to sign off on payments for a $4,640 plasma screen TV that he allegedly purchased with taxpayers’ money, Supreme Court heard.
The supervisor told Mr Burrows’s fraud trial he would not have authorised the payments if he had seen what they were for.
The trial also heard allegations from another of Mr Burrows’s work colleagues yesterday that the accused man asked him to pick up a TV from a Hamilton store and deliver it to his home.
Mr Burrows, 48, a former buildings manager at Works and Engineering, is accused of dishonestly submitting invoices so Government paid to rebuild the home he shared in St George’s with his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows, 49.
He is further accused of directing Government funds to his wife’s companies Ren Tech and Theravisions for work that was not done. He is also alleged to have spent Government cash on three televisions for his private use at home. The fraud is said to have amounted to more than half a million dollars.
Giving evidence for the prosecution yesterday, Richard Wilson, of Devonshire, said he has been superintendent at the Prospect Works and Engineering depot since August 2007.
He explained that if he is in charge of a project for his department, the invoices go to him as superintendent. He signs them and they are countersigned by either the buildings manager or assistant buildings manager.
If the buildings manager or assistant buildings manager is in charge of a project, they sign the invoice. Next, he said, it is supposed to be sent to someone above them for a second signature. Mr Wilson told the jury that purchase orders come in books with four copies of each one.
He told the jury about copies of two blank purchase orders that he kept for reference. He confirmed that he signed and dated these blank copies on January 30 2008 then wrote Mr Burrows’s name on a third copy which he handed out to him.
Mr Wilson told the jury he never received invoices back from Mr Burrows to go with the purchase orders. He said if he had received any, he would have input them into his department’s electronic records system “unless it was something that was not supposed to be [paid]”.
The jury has already seen copies of the purchase orders which went to the Accountant General to be paid. Each had writing on it indicating it was worth $2320.25.
Receipts the jury has seen from M&M electrical store showed the purchase orders were used together to buy a Panasonic TV and wall mount costing $4640.50. Store owner Donnie Correia told the jury earlier in the trial that the name Kyril Burrows was on both receipts.
Mr Wilson said the descriptions of the items were not written on the purchase orders by him. He explained the first time he saw the descriptions was when the police interviewed him during the Burrows investigation.
He added that he had never seen the receipts from M&M until the police investigation, and would not have authorised the purchase from departmental funds if he had realised.
“That’s not what we do. I’m not in charge of buying TVs and stuff like that,” he said.
The jury also heard yesterday from Edwin Bashir, of Sandys, a foreman at the Prospect depot.
He told the jury he knew Mr Burrows personally as well as professionally, since his sister went to the Berkeley Institute with Mr Burrows. According to Mr Bashir, Mr and Mrs Burrows lived at Tudor Farm, a Government owned property in Southampton, while their house in Turkey Hill, St George’s, was being renovated.
He told the jury he visited Turkey Hill twice in three months, at Mr Burrows’s request, to drop lumber off from the Prospect depot for carpenters working there. He estimated this was around 2007 to 2009.
He said Mr Burrows used to ask him to call at Tudor Farm when he was travelling home to Somerset to drop off items there using his work van. On one occasion, Mr Burrows asked him to pick up a television from the M&M store and take it to Tudor Farm.
“He was saying it was a flat screen TV and he was saying it was too large to get in his van,” he told the jury.
However, he said he did not do this as he was busy that day. He said after Mr Burrows had made the request, Mrs Bean-Burrows also called and asked him to pick up the TV.
“I said I had a few emergencies that day so I couldn’t pick it up that day, I told her I had a busy morning,” he told the jury. “I was busy when she called me. I was not too happy with the way she was dealing with it. I couldn’t be in two places at one time.”
Explaining how the payments process worked at Prospect, Mr Bashir spoke of how his superintendent, Rudolph Ebbin, used to give him pre-signed purchase orders for him to use as part of his job.
Mr and Mrs Burrows deny 35 charges including cheating Government, obtaining Government money by deception and false accounting and the case continues.