Key witness says she never bribed Gibson nor transferred vehicle to his company




Tribune Chief Reporter


A KEY witness in the criminal trial of Adrian Gibson and others claimed yesterday she never bribed the Long Island MP to receive maintenance contracts for Elite Maintenance and never transferred three vehicles to his company in Long Island.

Tanya Demeritte previously pleaded guilty to bribery, fraud and money laundering charges after prosecutors alleged that she bribed Mr Gibson in return for Water and Sewerage contracts, fraudulently obtained more than $600,000 from the corporation, and laundered some of the money to purchase three Kia vehicles.

Police accused her of transferring vehicles to Aaron’s Car Rental in Long Island, a company owned by Mr Gibson.

The charges stemmed from her role as director of Elite Maintenance, a company that was awarded WSC contracts when Mr Gibson was executive chairman.

Under cross-examination yesterday from Mr Gibson’s attorney, Damian Gomez, KC, Ms Demeritte denied meeting Mr Gibson and purchasing three Kia vehicles from Hertz Car Rental.

Mr Gomez, referring to the vehicles allegedly purchased by Elite, asked her: “So you never sent a single car to Long Island?”

“No, sir,” she replied.

Asked if she remembered entering a guilty plea in respect to allegations that she bought vehicles and transferred them to Mr Gibson, the witness said yes.

Mr Gomez then asked her why she had pleaded guilty to offences which she now claims she had never committed.

She responded: “Because my name was on the stuff, and I didn’t know how did that work, so I just take the plea deal.”

Mr Gomez asked her: “So you were not telling the truth when you pleaded guilty then?”

She responded that she had no other choice.

When Mr Gomez asked if her guilty plea was true or false, she said she did not understand the question.

Pressed on the matter, she ultimately said: “No, it wasn’t true.”

She also agreed with Mr Gomez’s suggestion that she never gave Mr Gibson any money.

She said she had no conversations with Mr Gibson concerning bribes.

During re-examination, acting Director of Public Prosecutions Cordell Frazier asked her if Elite Maintenance –– not her –– bought three Kia vehicles and transferred them to Mr Gibson.

Ms Demeritte said she did not know.

Asked if she had access to Elite Maintenance’s bank account, she said no.

Inspector Otishka Bowleg, who helped arrest Ms Demeritte and several others connected to the case, also testified yesterday.

She said she participated in interviews as part of investigations into the WSC and recorded statements from several witnesses.

She said she was present when her superiors interviewed Ms Demeritte.

When Mr Gomez asked if it was true that Ms Demeritte gave inconsistent answers, the inspector said she couldn’t say.

“I only sat in,” she said, adding that the lead investigator would best answer the question.

Anthony Moxey, owner of Sparktakular Builders, also testified yesterday about his involvement in the case.

He confirmed that Baha Maintenance and Restoration subcontracted his company to paint works on WSC buildings. Mr Moxey said he believed he was paid over $70,000 for the job.

Mr Gibson, the MP for Long Island, is facing bribery and money laundering 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 four others –– Mr Elwood Donaldson, Jr, former WSC’s general manager, Peaches Farquharson, Joan Knowles and Jerome Missick.

Prosecutors recently dropped charges against his cousin, Rashae Gibson, who has agreed to testify in the trial.

The case continues before Senior Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.