Accounts ‘doodling’ incriminates Watson

| 21/01/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Canover Watson

(CNS): Former Health Services Authority Board chair Canover Watson has been asked about a catalogue of apparently incriminating documents over the last few days, as the crown questioned him on the evidence it says shows he is guilty of corruption. But Watson claimed that a set of spreadsheets allegedly showing earnings for AIS Cayman Ltd, the company that won the hospital payment contract, and a 30% cut going to a company owned by Watson and his friend, Jeffrey Webb, were just “doodles”.

Watson told the jury that some people keep journals, others record their thoughts and ideas on voice notes, but he plays around with numbers and accounts. The detailed spreadsheets, which clearly set out the future projections and profits that AIS Cayman Ltd was expected to make after securing the lucrative contract and the cut going to the W-Group, were nothing more than doodling, he claimed.

Watson said that people should not be prosecuted for their thoughts but Patrick Moran, the deputy director of public prosecutions, told him he was not being prosecuted for his ideas but for conspiracy to defraud, and the “fantasy figures” and spreadsheets were evidence of that.

Despite the mountain of documentation and correspondence that points to Watson’s very direct involvement in the local company created to partner with the Jamaican firm that supplied the CarePay verification system for the hospital, he has persistently denied being a beneficial owner of AIS Cayman or taking any kickbacks related to the contract.

Since Monday, when the crown began its cross-examination of Watson on the evidence he gave last week, the jury has been shown what appear to be doctored contracts, forged signatures, spreadsheet projections, cash transfers and correspondence that indicates Watson was not just involved in keeping the AIS contract and implementation on track but was immersed in the day-to-day detailed affairs of a business that he appeared to be running.

Pointing constantly to Jeff Webb, his business partner in a catalogue of other ventures, as the beneficial owner and local partner of AIS, and Douglas Halsall, the Jamaican owner of the company supplying the technology, Watson attempted to explain away the evidence. He said he was either assisting and doing what needed to be done, at the direction of the minister, as the “point man” to move the CarePay contract forward or as a favour to his friend Webb.

He said that helping them to create bank accounts, the request for proposals documents, the contract that AIS signed with government, collecting cheques and managing the accounts for the firm were all because of his role as HSA chair and not for any financial gain.

He said the creation of a company in BVI, called AIS Consulting, of which Watson was the sole director, was because Halsall had offered him a job with AIS, which he was considering, but because the minister insisted he stay on as chair he did not seize that opportunity. However, the creation of the BVI offshore company by Watson happened when he received the first instalment of the $2 million of public cash that the health minister had allocated for the supposed national rollout of the system to private insurance firms in addition to the government insurance company, CINICO.

Watson repeatedly denied that there was anything wrong with “stripping” Doug Halsall’s signature for an important Know Your Client review of accounts by Fidelity, where AIS Cayman Ltd banked.

Watson said he could not get hold of Halsall but there was an urgent need to supply the bank with information about him for the review, so he filled in the bank questionnaire and, at the direction of Halsall’s daughter, he “stripped” Halsall’s signature from the original contract he had signed with the hospital, pasted it onto the form and sent it via another member of staff to the bank.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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