HSA workers deny corruption charges

Cayman Islands Hospital

Two Health Services Authority staff accused of claiming payment for fraudulent overtime hours denied the charges in the Grand Court on Friday.

Dominic Fernando Dacres, 41, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of obtaining property by deception. Between 1 Jan. and 31 Dec. 2017, Dacres is alleged to have falsified overtime forms in order to receive a ‘pecuniary advantage’ of overtime payment for work the prosecution says he never did.

Co-accused Nick Romano Smith, 57, also appeared in the dock on Friday. He pleaded not guilty to two charges of false accounting and an additional charge of breach of trust.

Smith, who worked in a supervisory capacity, is alleged to have knowingly signed off on false overtime claim forms and then passed them on to the HSA’s accounts department for payment.

A third man who was named in the indictment has not been charged and is thought to no longer be in Cayman.

While asking for stricter bail conditions for Dacres and Smith, prosecutor Greg Walcolm said, “A third man who has been named in this indictment has not been charged. Given what has happened with the suspect, who has since fled the jurisdiction, I invite the court to impose the stricter conditions.”

Conditions included a residence requirement, surrendering of travel documents and no contact with witnesses, among other stipulations.

Both men have been released on bail, and a two-week jury trial has been set for February 2020.