CarePay trial – Watson: CIFA funds paid for Webb’s house

A sum of US$250,000 from the Cayman Islands Football Association, designated for the construction of a new football complex in Prospect, was used pay for a portion of Jeffrey Webb’s mansion in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, Canover Watson testified during his criminal trial Monday.

Watson testified Monday morning that the deposit of US$250,000 was made in April 2011 into a Fidelity Bank account opened to receive funds from the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority. However, that deposit was not from the HSA, but came from a company called Black Holdings Ltd., which had received it from the local football association, Watson said.

Statements made by prosecutors earlier in the trial indicated this money had originally come from the football association, but the Crown did not attach it to a specific project. During his testimony Monday, Watson did.

Jeffrey Webb’s house, left, and Canover Watson’s house, both on Adel Drive in Loganville, Georgia. – Photo by Kevin D. Liles/ for the Cayman Compass
Jeffrey Webb’s house, left, and Canover Watson’s house, both on Adel Drive in Loganville, Georgia. – Photo by Kevin D. Liles/ for the Cayman Compass

Watson, an accountant by trade, said he reviewed all of the transactions into and out of the Fidelity Bank account held by AIS (Advanced Integrated Systems) Cayman Ltd. while preparing his defense in the criminal trial. Watson and Webb have been accused of personally benefiting from the award of the health authority’s contract for a hospital patient swipe-card system to AIS Cayman and its Jamaican partners, an award Watson is accused of directing as the former chairman of the Health Services Authority’s board.

Watson’s attorney, Trevor Burke, QC, asked whether, in his review of the AIS Cayman financial records, Watson had discovered “other deposits” going into the Fidelity account for AIS. Watson noted that about US$250,000 from Black Holdings was placed into that account. Watson said he understood that company to be controlled by a man named Peter Campbell.

Mr. Burke asked whether Watson was aware whether Black Holdings had received a “similar sum” prior to the payment into the AIS account.

Watson responded that Black Holdings had a contract with FIFA, world football’s governing body, to build a football field at what is referred to as the “Centre of Excellence” in George Town, Grand Cayman. “These were monies due contractually from CIFA [the Cayman Islands Football Association] to Black Holdings,” Watson said. Watson was the treasurer of the Cayman Islands Football Association at the time the transfer was made to the AIS Cayman account. Webb was the association’s president.

Around the time the Black Holdings cash transfer was done, another deposit of US$240,000 came into the AIS Cayman account from a company, J&D International, by way of a loan made to that company from Fidelity.

Webb was a director of J&D International, which was ultimately controlled by Trinidadian politician and former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner.

Upon a further review of the records, Watson said it appeared that the money from Black Holdings, the loan from J&D and other funds in the AIS account were used to pay US$520,000 for a home in Loganville, Georgia, that Webb bought in 2011. “That US$520,000 was the precise figure paid for [Webb’s] home?” Mr. Burke asked.

Watson said he could not testify about a “precise figure” but that it did appear to pay for the purchase of the home in Georgia.

Previous testimony in the trial revealed that the cash to J&D International’s loan was paid back via funds received from the AIS Cayman contract and that it appeared other funds were paid to CIFA from the AIS account.

CarePay earnings

According to Watson’s review of the evidence provided to him by prosecutors regarding the Fidelity Bank statements, it was alleged that US$1.66 million was collected by Webb directly from the AIS Cayman Ltd. bank account.

That US$1.66 million was out of a total of US$6.8 million spent on the AIS-CarePay system spanning a period from December 2010 to August 2014, Watson said.

Only US$320,000 from the same account was paid to Joscelyn Morgan, one of the two registered directors of AIS Cayman Ltd. It was not stated whether the other director, Eldon Rankin, received anything from the AIS account.

Mr. Burke asked Watson whether, during any dealings he had with Webb and the AIS-CarePay contract, or during his review of the AIS Cayman bank account whether he found former government ministers McKeeva Bush or Mark Scotland had personally benefited from the award of the CarePay contract.

Watson said he had no evidence of either man personally benefiting.