UCCI dean quizzed on credit card policy

The former dean of the University College of the Cayman Islands Brian Chapell testified that the college had no written policy for the use of staff credit cards.

Mr. Chapell, giving evidence in the ongoing trial of the college’s former president Hassan Syed, acknowledged that he had been one of approximately 10 members of staff given credit cards in late 2007. He said he had never used his card for personal expenses.

Asked by Mr. Syed’s attorney Tom Price, QC, if it had been envisaged that the cards could be used for personal expenses, he initially said he did not believe so.

After being shown a document by Mr. Price, apparently signed by the UCCI staff members when they were given the cards, he acknowledged that the document did contain procedures for refunding personal expenditure.

Reading from the document, Mr. Price said it indicated that any staff member who used the card for non-college expenditure should immediately reimburse the institution or have the relevant amount deducted from their salary.

One of the 12 charges against Syed relates to some US$200,000 of expenditure on college funded cards.

Giving evidence by video link, Mr. Chapell was also asked for background information, relating to some of the other charges.

He gave details about a collaboration between UCCI and car dealership Tony’s Toys to set up an auto mechanics program. He said he believed the collaboration had been Syed’s idea and gave details of some of the expenditure connected to the initiative.

Syed is alleged to have spent US$20,000 of the college’s money to buy a car from Tony’s Toys for a close female friend.

Mr. Chapell, under questioning from prosecutor Patrick Moran, also testified that there had been no renovations to the UCCI campus bathrooms in early 2008. Syed is accused, in one of the charges on the indictment, of using CI$5,000 of college funds to buy bathroom furnishings from Pooley Cabinet Industries for a female friend.

Syed has denied 12 charges, including theft, obtaining money transfers by deception and obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception relating to the misuse of college funds during his time as president, between 2006 and 2008.

The trial continues.

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