Watson blamed PA for mistaken links to AIS

| 11/01/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Canover Watson

(CNS): In his interview with police following his arrest in the CarePay scandal, Canover Watson said it was mistakes on the part of his personal assistant, Miriam Rodrigues, that his name, telephone numbers and other things appeared to link him to AIS Cayman Ltd, but he was not a beneficial owner. Jurors heard Friday that in his first meeting with anti-corruption officers after his arrest in 2014, Watson had answered ‘no comment’ to all of the questions but took away a transcript and supplied answers a few months later.

In those set answers Watson repeatedly stated that Rodrigues had inadvertently stamped his signature on documents and letters relating to AIS Cayman Ltd, which was a company she had created at the request of Jeffrey Webb, who was a consultant with AIS.

Despite a number of coincidences regarding the documents and connections to Watson, he denied over and over that he was a beneficial owner of AIS, the firm which went on to win the very lucrative CarePay contract at the hospital in 2010.

Watson, who was the chairman of the Health Services Authority Board at the time, said that Rodrigues incorrectly used a template that she normally used for creating any new company he or even Webb requested. He said this was not unusual but it was on this occasion incorrect. He said he knew nothing about the creation and registration of AIS Cayman Ltd and he had not made the request for Rodrigues to register the company. He said he had given Rodrigues permission to help Webb whenever he needed and he said Rodrigues made a mistake when she used his signature stamp on the documents relating to that firm.

While he admitted that he knew the directors of AIS Cayman Ltd, whom the crown have described in their case against him as sham directors, and that he had at some point notarized a passport for one of them but he said he did not see that as a conflict of interest.

Repeatedly denying any beneficial ownership or being paid by AIS Cayman Ltd for securing the hospital contract, Watson continued to point to mistakes by his PA or others as the reason why his name appeared on documents or why he was copied in on emails related to that company’s day to day business.

He admitted requesting hospital staff to expedite payments to AIS but he said that was not because he was set to gain but because he wanted the process to run smoothly and ensure the firm could being the start up as soon as possible.

He described collecting cheques as being a “good Samaritan” and denied gaining anything from AIS or being an owner. He said money paid into an account of another business he owned from AIS Ltd was regarding an investment made by one of the directors and nothing to do with the contract. He said he had collected money on behalf of Webb when he asked or Doug Halsall, the director of the original Jamaican company, to ensure that the project remained on track and went smoothly.

He also denied knowing that another firm he owned was doing business with AIS Cayman Ltd in relation to customs clearance. Watson said he did not instruct CRW Group regarding work for AIS but, as with all customs clearance transactions, the fee to the company was just $50 and he did not see that as a conflict that should have been declared.

Watson told police he was not involved with AIS and repeatedly denied being a beneficial owner during that first interview, indicating that mistakes or his desire to assist were the reasons for the connections.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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