(CNS): The former president of the University College of the Cayman Islands used charm and his status as the college boss to manipulate those around him, the deputy director of public prosecutions told the jury Tuesday, as he summed up the crown’s case against Hassan Syed for stealing over half a million dollars from the university. Patrick Moran said that in the last few months of his presidency, when he knew the auditors were on to him, he took every penny he could from the college, cleared out his own Cayman bank account and slipped away.
As he drew together the evidence from witnesses, the agreed facts, the reams of documents and admissions that formed the basis of the crown’s case, plus the evidence given by Syed from the witness stand, Moran told the jury that the facts spoke for themselves. He said Syed had deceived everyone and any good he may have done while he served as the college president “pales into insignificance when you scratch the surface and see what he was really up to all those months”.
He said the jury might think that the college accountant, Khemkaran Singh, should have stood up to his boss and been more robust, but they had seen Syed giving evidence and watched how he deflected questions.
“It is not difficult to imagine how hard it was for Singh to pin him down or stand up to his boss,” the prosecutor told the jury as he reviewed all of the evidence against Syed.
Moran said that although Singh never had enough information from Syed to work out what was going on, it was clear he had his suspicions, as it was Singh who raised his concerns with the auditors — people who were not under Syed’s influence. He said that once they had the full credit card statements from the bank detailing Syed’s personal spending, they were able to begin untangling what Singh could not. And Syed was not their boss, so they were able to ask the questions, and that was when “he knew the writing was on the wall” and he began to make plans to leave.
Moran told the jury that Syed had deliberately made it extremely difficult for the college accountant to work out what was personal spending and what was UCCI business. Syed had deflected Singh with empty promises in a deliberate effort to confuse the finances and disguise his dishonesty.
Reviewing the case and the chain of events against the claims that Syed made when giving evidence, Moran spoke about his consistent refusal to accept the facts in front of him.
From Syed’s claims about his classified PhD and the request for his salary advance for medical treatment, which he admitted was spent on his girlfriend’s student loans, to the false time sheets he submitted for work at the Civil Service College and the misleading information he wrote on the UCCI cheque book stubs to get more cash and a car for his lover, Moran said Syed was dishonest and deceitful.
Pointing to the massive amount of personal spending on the credit card that Syed would never have been able to afford to pay back even if he wasn’t being dishonest, he reminded the jury of witness evidence that had indicated that Syed’s “tastes had changed” and become far more extravagant when he became the president.
The case continues.