WITNESS ‘DID NOT SIGN’ CONTRACTS: Cashier tells court signature on papers does not match hers

Tanya Demeritte arriving at court yesterday. 
Photo: Dante Carrer

Tanya Demeritte arriving at court yesterday. Photo: Dante Carrer


Tribune Staff Reporter


A KEY witness in the criminal trial of Adrian Gibson and five others claimed she never signed maintenance contracts awarded to a company of which she was a shareholder when court documents allegedly bearing her signature were shown to her in court yesterday. 

Tanya Demeritte, a cashier at the Bahamas Financial Centre, denied signing two contracts issued to Elite Maintenance from the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) to carry out repair and painting works at its Blue Hill Low Level tanks.

The contracts were worth $263,000 each, the court heard yesterday.

 “No, ma’am. I don’t sign like that,” Ms Demeritte said when shown letters of acceptance allegedly bearing her signature.

 Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Cordell Frazier asked the witness if she ever authorised anyone to sign the documents on her behalf.

 However, she said no.

 When asked if she ever received monies for the contracts awarded, Ms Demeritte said she hadn’t.

 “How did your company get those two contracts,” asked Ms Frazier.

 The witness said that she did not know. 

 Ms Frazier asked her if she ever placed a bid or a quote for the contracts, but again she said no.

 Ms Demeritte allegedly became a director and shareholder of Elite Maintenance in 2019 after being asked to join by Mr Gibson’s then fiancée, Alexandria Mackey, whom she met through Mackey’s mother.

 She told jurors yesterday that Mrs Mackey dealt with the day-to-day operations of the company, including the execution of contracts, while she only inspected the sites where landscaping and maintenance works were being carried out by Elite. 

 Her duties also included taking photographs of sites where work was incomplete, she added.

 When asked about works at the corporation’s Blue Hill site, Ms Demeritte revealed that R&L Pools was subcontracted by Elite to repair and paint two tanks there.

 However, she could not say how much they were paid or how long it took them to complete the work.

 When questioned about landscaping contracts awarded to Elite, Ms Demeritte testified that she never received any payments with respect to the works done. 

 Ms Demeritte was also shown the company’s registration documents, which listed her as secretary and shareholder.

 However, the witness said she wasn’t aware that she held those posts and asked the DPP to explain to her what a shareholder was.

 Ms Demeritte was also asked if the company had any vehicles. 

 She said she only knew of the company’s truck and recalled when Mrs Mackey asked her to provide her identification documents for the truck’s purchase.

 When shown a receipt allegedly bearing her name with respect to three vehicle purchased, the witness denied signing it. 

 When asked if she ever received money from Mrs Mackey, the witness said she got $2,000 for assisting her.

 Ms Demeritte will return for cross-examination at the next court hearing.

 Mr Gibson, the MP for Long Island, is facing several charges concerning his tenure as WSC executive chairman under the Minnis administration.

 The charges stem from Mr Gibson’s alleged failure to declare his interest in contracts awarded by the WSC. 

 The FNM politician is charged with Mr Elwood Donaldson, Jr, former WSC’s general manager, Rashae Gibson, Joan Knowles, Peaches Farquharson and Jerome Missick.

 Mr Damian Gomez, KC, Mr Murrio Ducille, KC, Bryan Bastian, Ryan Eve, Raphael Moxey, Christina Galanos, Ian Cargill and Donald Saunders represent the defendants.

 In addition to Ms Frazier, the Crown’s lawyers include Cashena Thompson, Karine MacVean and Rashied Edgecombe.

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