Syed claims he came back to clear name

| 20/02/2017 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The former president of the University College of the Cayman Islands, who was wanted by the Cayman authorities for many years before he was arrested in Switzerland, said he did not contest his extradition to the Cayman Islands because he wanted to clear his name. Continuing his evidence Friday, Hassan Syed told the jury he left in 2008 because he was “very ill” and not because of any investigation into his alleged misuse of college funds.

He said he was aware there was an audit but not a police enquiry. He said he resigned a few weeks later and was eventually treated in Pakistan for various medical problems.

He told the court that he began working in Pakistan when he was being treated for cancer and that he had gone to Switzerland on government business because he was sent there to broker an undisclosed deal between the Swiss authorities and the Pakistani government. He was arrested in November 2013, almost five years after he left Cayman.

Held in a prison in that country for another seven months, he said that in the end he decided not to contest the extradition because his health was poor and because he was being slandered in the local press but no one made any effort to contact him. He said he wanted to clear his name so he agreed to come back.

Six years after his departure he was brought back to Cayman, where he was bailed on an electronic tag and has been living with a prominent local family ever since. Syed told the court that he has been living on savings for the last year and nine months as he awaited trail.

Syed made no mention of the $70,000 salary advance that he had taken a few weeks before his departure when he told the college he was going to Toronto for medical treatment.

But he told the court that he was forced to seek treatment in Pakistan because he would have had to wait several months if he had remained in Canada. He explained that although previously a resident there, when he went back he would have had to wait for more than three months until he was resident again to access healthcare.

Syed told the court that he decided to go to Pakistan because he had served in the army there and he could access healthcare at a military hospital. After his operation to remove the blood clots, it was many months before his other health problems were diagnosed as cancer. He said he had taken a job and remained in Pakistan until he was sent to Switzerland.

Syed is accused of stealing over half a million dollars from the college though personal spending on his college credit card, taking an unauthorised salary advance, cashing unauthorised cheques, creating false time sheets for consultancy work and manipulating other invoices related to the civil services college. He is also accused of falsely claiming he had a PhD to secure the top job at the college and the additional salary and benefits that came with it.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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