Missing witnesses at centre of CarePay case

| 08/02/2016 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Mark Scotland, former UDP minister of health

(CNS): When Justice Michael Mettyear handed Canover Watson, the former chair of the Health Services Authority, a seven-year jail term on Friday, he described the evidence against him of corruption in the CarePay case as “overwhelming”. But the case against Watson was based heavily on the incriminate documents and correspondence recovered from his computers and not from the key players named throughout the trial, who did not appear on the witness stand for either the prosecution or the defence.  

In his testimony, Watson alleged that the former health minister, Mark Scotland, had instructed him to be the point man for Doug Halsall, the Jamaican owner of AIS, and claimed that was why he had been so heavily involved in the day-to-day process. At one point, Watson’s defence attorney, Trevor Burke QC, said Scotland’s ears must have “been burning” throughout the trial, but neither he nor Moran called the former UDP minister to support their case.

It is understood that Scotland was interviewed during the investigation. However, the crown did not call the man who, according to the evidence, as minister had sanctioned the need for a verification and payment system and budgeted for a national rollout of the system in his annual ministry appropriations for 2012, even though there was no contract to support it.

The now convicted former HSA board chair also claimed during his trial that Scotland, a close friend of both Watson and Jeffrey Webb, had insisted that he conduct a request for proposals for the system because of the interest coming from Brac Informatics, a company in which Moses Kirkconnell, the current deputy premier, has an interest.

Watson further claimed that it was because of Scotland that he opened the bids early when BIC did not submit a tender. It is also apparent that Scotland had budgeted some $2.4 million for the rollout of the failing AIS system to include the private sector insurance providers even before he saw Watson’s doctored contract.

Two other key players did not appear during the trial: the so-called “sham directors” that the crown said were fronting AIS Cayman Ltd to cover up for Watson and Webb, who were the real beneficial owners of the company that was set up purely to cream off millions of dollars from the public purse. Joscelyn Morgan left the country following Watson arrest and has not returned, and although Eldon Rankin had given a statement to the prosecutors, Watson’s attorneys argued for that evidence to be thrown out because Rankin was unable to come to court during the trial due to ill-health.

Doug Halsall, the CEO and owner of AIS, the technology firm which created the health insurance card payment system, who was said to be the third director of the local firm, was also absent from the witness box, despite his leading role in the venture. Unconfirmed sources told CNS that Halsall was approached during the investigation and trial preparations but he refused to speak with investigators.

CNS has sent questions to both Scotland and Halsall regarding their part in the implementation of the corrupt contract and we are awaiting a response.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have to believe that just like Canover was surprised by the police arresting him and thinking that he had gotten away smelling like a rose, this minister will be investigated ..The ties before and after he left office with Jeff Webb and Canover Watson are too close for them not to investigate.

    The Air Ambulance situation stinks of XXXXX conflict of interest that a blind man could see it. What he did was XXXX morally and ethically wrong XXXXXX

    Come on RCIPS!

    • Anonymous says:

      The minister MUST be investigated. He with another of his party disciples were at the hotel when Webb was arrested, and they hightailed it out on the next flight.
      All the awards of contract and payments could not have happened without the sanction nod nod wink wink of those in power at the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Scotland won’t be investigated because the investigation would inevitably lead to other MLAs, ministers and government officials and the whole house of cards could come crashing down. If you think this is the only time government money made its way into the pockets of officials then you deserve to be poor. Make no mistake, it was (and is) being siphoned off at every opportunity. Why do you think there are no government accounts? Why are certain civil servants on permanent leave with full pay and no consequences? Why was the Stan Thomas affair, the gasboy thefts, the CINICO mismanagement, the nation building fund etc etc etc etc etc never properly investigated?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if any of them were at Webb’s big party? Bunch of blood sucking low lifes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    others should be check

  4. Anonymous says:

    It getting hot in here!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the Police will ever investigate as to why the two young Caymanian businessmen, (at least one being a constituent of Bodden Town the district that the minister represented ) that presented individual business plans to Minister Scotland on starting Air Ambulance services based in Cayman were dismissed and not allowed to move forward by him and then with in a short period of him leaving office, he, the minister, started his own air ambulance company which ironically was based on very similar plans.

    My guess is we will never know…God knows though!

    • Anonymous says:

      What about XXXXXXX and the construction company that got over a million in the dealings? The USDOJ need to investigate. Canover and Jeff are not the only players in this game and they should not be the only one before a court.

    • Anonymous says:

      If people disclose business ideas without a. confidentiality agreement then that is their problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        The business plans were confidential. The minister was not.. and even if they did not have a confidential agreement with the government would it be right for a government minister to steal their ideas and plans? KARMA coming!

      • Anonymous says:

        Either you are the minister or you don’t get it..he claims the air ambulance was his own idea…he knew full well one of his very own constituents was working on a plan and he did everything to derail it until he was out of office so that he could do it himself…He kept company with Jeff Webb and we know that birds of a feather flock together…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Surely the LA can conduct a inquiry with powers of sub poena over the affairs at the Ministry?

    • Anonymous says:

      That would take a leader with leadership skills and a spine and the support of politicians who have nothing to hide themselves. So it is not going to happen.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the UDP had stayed in power this trial probably would not have happened. As soon as Can Can has settled into his new quarters he will start singing and then we’ll all know who else was involved and profited from the various schemes.

  8. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

    Reading the media reports on the trial there are many unanswered questions:

    1. How could Canover Watson commit those crimes by himself without some form of assistance directly or indirectly?

    2. The system of check and balances failed and other persons either were incompetent or were complicit. What will be the consequences?

    3. Who signed off on the financing and payments to AIS Ltd?

    4. Who is next to be charged for their roles and the abuse of office as Public Officers?

    5. Will any person in the Ministry of Health, HSA and CINICO be charged for criminal negligence?

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope that no-one paves over any evidence.

    • Tim says:

      Pray tell us what you would have done differently if you were a public official, that these officials didn’t do. Guess you are an expert in forged documents.

      Remember you were dealing with a chairman of your board , CEO of a private sector company and the YCLA winner.

      It’s so easy to criticise after the fact.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tim, really, that all you got? The corruption inherent in Cayman is plain and obvious for all to see. Why is it that only North American public officials here were the ones to notice (and face the consequences).

      • Jotnar says:

        The CEO and the IT head questioned it, and promptly got their contracts revoked and turned off the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      We need to look at the nice trucks, expensive Range Rovers, nice boats that have recently been purchased, by employees in these very organizations that you refer to. Seize them all….

    • Anonymous says:

      As Bob Marley said “dem bellies full but we hungry”…….greed while Cayman kids suffer, for the want of a pair of football shoes. Can we not just dump Jeff, Watson and all the others in the sewer?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Pathetic and tasteless

    • Food for thought says:

      Was the missing witness besides being good friends with Webb and Watson also not on the board of CIFA? Was that same missing witness not also a part of CONCACAF and had significant roles in all tournaments held in Cayman along with Costas? Was that same missing witness not in Switzerland when Webb was arrested? If so, why was this missing witness in attendance at a high level FIFA meeting? Have the businesses of this missing witness been investigated for kickbacks and bribes? Lots more questions than answers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure his heart is pure and his hands are clean. His skin is too light for him to have done any wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dragging up that old phrase again!!!! Give it a rest – you’re like a broken record

    • Anonymous says:

      Skin color has nothing to with breaking the law..Only you comes up with that foolishness. A thief is thief, and crook is a crook and believe me they come in all colors..

      • Anonymous says:

        You are so right. The man stole. He has got to be the greediest ,unconscionable, unscrupulous louse ever born. Were him and Jeff trying to get every dime in circulation for their own. Really, jail term is too good for them, can anyone imagine how many hours they spent scheming and creaming off this money. Obviously they only cared about their bank accounts, not their reputations, their families, their homeland. So if you are family bringing this stupid remarks about being black,or not you would do better off if you kept your mouth shut. You are only embarrassing yourselves and other black people around the world. I am black as is many persons in Cayman, worked in corporate Cayman many years and never ever stoop so low. I have had some struggles but really cannot blame it on being black. As a matter of fact I have had no issues with being black and I can’t recall anyone else ever holding it against me. It is what it is “proud and black”

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess you aren’t familiar with sarcasm?

  10. Anonymous says:

    you only Hear that Eldoon Rankine is sick but they also have evidence that Mr.Joscelyn Morgan is sick. shame on them taking up for one director and not the other

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be sick too!

    • Anonymous says:

      HaHa! Eldoon Rankine isn’t sick enough, most saturday morning’s and some friday nights him and his young twenty something year old pino wife be at Eats cafe and Legandz having good old time. Nothing sick about him.

      As for Morgan he really sick man, haven’t seen him anyway since 2012 and has been in treatments. Speedy recovery Mr. Morgan.

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