THURSDAY, FEB. 23: A Government permanent secretary testified today in the fraud trial of a former high-ranking civil servant.
Robert Horton, the permanent secretary of Estates and Information Services since April 2011, was previously the permanent secretary of Works and Engineering, where defendant Kyril Burrows was employed.
Mr Burrows, the former building manager for Government, and his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows allegedly had their home built on the Government’s dime, bought flat screen TVs and pocketed thousands of dollars over a three-year period.
The couple is on trial for fraud against Government involving more than $553,000. There are 35 counts on the indictment with Mr Burrows charged with 15 allegations, Mrs Bean-Burrows charged with two and the couple charged jointly with 18.
Charges are dated between 2005 and 2008 and include allegations of cheating, money laundering, false accounting, obtaining money transfers by deception and obtaining property by deception.
Mr Horton told the jury today he knew Mr Burrows, 48, when the defendant was a student at the Berkeley Institute. Mr Horton was the deputy head teacher at the time.
Mr Burrows and Mrs Bean-Burrows, 49, do not have legal representation.
During cross-examination today, Mr Burrows quizzed Mr Horton on how payments were made in Works and Engineering.
“How were payments processed from the Prospect Depot to the Accountant General’s office,” he asked.
Mr Horton said: “I don’t know that I could speak authoritatively on that process.
“I know that requests would be passed through.
“There would be communication from the Prospect Depot to the accounts section where payments would be forwarded to the Accountant General’s department, but I can’t speak with great authority to that process.”
Mr Burrows then asked what the vetting process was after a payment had been certified with two signatures.
Mr Horton said: “It would be forwarded to our accounts section for further processing and for forward transmissions, and then it would be processed and sent to the AG’s department for payment.”
Mr Burrows then said: “I put it to you that Thomasina Hassell and David Brown oversaw all the depot payments prior to going to the AG’s office as a vetting process.”
Mr Horton said: “I don’t disagree with that statement.
“I said that the payment certificates, once completed and signed would be sent to our accounts section headed by Thomasina Hassell.
“David Brown was the chief surveyor so he would be expected to have oversight of the functions as well.”
Mr Burrows and Mrs Bean-Burrows deny the charges.