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BPL fraud trial delayed at lawyer’s request

The trial of five men accused of defrauding the national power company of millions of dollars by creating fake invoices for fictitious vendors was yesterday adjourned without a date.

Former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Fixed Asset Manager James Dean, attorney Che Chase Campbell, former FirstCaribbean International Bank employee Reno Bethel, Anthony Strachan and Orvano Symonette are all accused of participating in the $2 million scheme.

The trial was supposed to continue yesterday afternoon, but Dean’s lawyer, Shaka Serville, requested an adjournment.

Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister was unable to immediately set a new date due to conflicts in the defendants and lawyers’ schedules.

In the end, Armbrister set a fixture hearing for December 18. Bethel, who now lives in Canada, and Dean were excused from attending that hearing as their lawyers have committed themselves to informing them of the new date.

Earlier this week, Stuart Taylor, BPL’s manager of information technology services, said employees accessed the company’s integrated computer system with a unique username and password.

According to Taylor, Dean did not have the ability to print checks, but he had access to the general ledger application.

Taylor said clerks, senior managers and directors were all able to create vendors in the system.

Taylor said that he was instructed to conduct multiple queries of BPL’s database from May 11 to June 19, when computer systems were eventually required.

Taylor said the computers handed over to the police were used by Dean, D’andre Saunders and Devon Miller.

Taylor said that police removed the hard drives from computers used by 10 other BPL employees.

Attorneys Wayne Munroe, QC, Roberto Reckley, Tai Pinder and Alex Morley appear for the defendants.

 

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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