FOI request made for Moses, says witness in CarePay trial

| 10/12/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town

(CNS): An FOI request to the Health Services Authority asking about the owners of AIS Cayman Ltd was made by Dale Sanders, the head of IT at the HSA at the time, on behalf of MLA Moses Kirkconnell, Sanders told the court Thursday. Giving evidence for the second day in the CarePay corruption case, Sanders said that in 2011 he had revealed his suspicions that corruption surrounding the contract went to the top of the UDP administration to Kirkconnell, then a member of the opposition and now the deputy premier, after he was introduced to him by his sister, Nancy Ewing, the owner of Brac Informatics.

Sander said that after he left the Cayman Islands and after the new PPM government took office in 2013, he met Kirkconnell and Osbourne Bodden, who was then health minister, in Washington, DC, where Sanders was working at the time. The former hospital IT expert said that as well as discussing a possible new contract with the HSA, they spoke more about his CarePay suspicions. However, he admitted that he had not revealed any of his suspicions to the police before he left Cayman because he did not know who to trust.

Sanders told the jury that he stumbled across information that directly linked Watson to AIS Cayman Ltd while working with Doug Halsall, a director of AIS in both Jamaica and Cayman, during efforts to implement the CarePay system.

He said that, given the chain of events prior to the discovery and the way the contract was handled, this added information solidified his suspicions that corruption could be afoot. Because of the way Watson had frequently evoked the name of the premier at the time, McKeeva Bush, in connection with the contract, Sanders believed that he too might have been directly involved, as well as the health minister at the time, Mark Scotland. However, Sanders stated that he had seen no evidence at all that suggested Scotland had done anything wrong.

Nevertheless, Sanders said he suspected that the corruption could involve many millions of dollars. Given the life of the contract, if it wasn’t stopped, in time as much as $100 million could be syphoned off in a scheme that he believed might have gone to the top of the political chain of command, he said, echoing sentiments expressed by the former medical director on Tuesday.

Sanders said he began to fear that, if they realized he knew, those involved might try to frame him with a crime, such as planting drugs in his home, porn on his computer or somehow freezing his own bank accounts in Cayman on some trumped-up charge. Worried about his safety, and his $300,000 that he had in local accounts, Sanders told friends and family in emails about his suspicions and began an exit strategy. However, he did carry on as a consultant with the HSA as they battled to implement the CarePay system.

Sanders revealed that he had told Nancy Ewing about his suspicions before he left Cayman. He said he knew her and had a trusted working relationship because the hospital worked with Brac Informatics on other IT issues and she became his intermediary, once he came across the link between Watson and AIS.

However, Sanders denied assisting Ewing earlier in the process with a bid to get the CarePay contract. He said that when she had asked about it at the time of the request for proposals, he had explained that the deadline was set by Watson as the board chair. He said that unless she could do it in the timeline, Brac informatics would have to pass on the bid, which it did. He said that Ewing was interested in the contract because her company had a similar one in existence with a private healthcare firm on island.

Sanders said that he did not make the connection between Ewing and Moses Kirkconnell at first and it was not until a trip to the Brac that he was introduced formerly to her brother. He did tell Kirkconnell in 2011 of his suspicions that Watson was an owner of AIS and he assisted Kirkconnell with the questions that he needed to ask if he wanted to take those suspicions further, and told the court he had formulated and submitted the FOI request.

Sanders said he was unaware that Watson had changed the contract, established the company AIS Cayman Ltd, or had been assisting the firm to ensure they got the contract. He spoke of simply being suspicious and when, because of problems over payments, he stumbled across information that linked Watson to AIS, Sanders said the former HSA chair’s behaviour throughout the procurement contract then started to make sense.

Sanders said things fell into place and further fuelled his suspicions of corruption. He said he had strong sense things were wrong based on an “accumulation of circumstances that most people would logically conclude” were leading to corruption. He said he had no evidence of the corruption, just what he had observed of the procurement process, which he described as “inappropriate”, and that “less than optimal decisions were made that did not lead to a good outcome” for the HSA.

Under cross-examination Sanders denied deliberately sabotaging the implementation of the CarePay system, which was plagued with a catalogue of technical problems from the onset.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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