Former CEO denies misappropriating funds from Challenor School
The woman believed to be at the centre of reports of missing funds from the Challenor School has denied any involvement.
Former Chief Executive Officer Sharonne Taitt told Barbados TODAY she never stole any funds from that Canefield, St Thomas institution.
Speaking to in the presence of her legal counsel, Stephen Alleyne, Taitt contended that it was nigh impossible to misappropriate funds when all cheques had to be countersigned by Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr Jennifer Campbell.
“Even with the fractured accounting system that has existed for ten years at that Centre, it is impossible to abscond with funds. The cheques are signed by two officers and a detailed listing of the services or goods acquired by the school is attached to the cheque. I never had direct access to any funds whatsoever. My name is not on any credit cards or anything that would indicate that I had access to funds. I have not stolen anything from the school,” Taitt maintained.
Taitt, who served as CEO at the time of the missing funds, showed the Barbados TODAY team a summary of an audited financial statement prepared by Chartered Accountant Hutson E G & Co, which showed that during the period 2006-2010 no audited statements for the institution had been prepared.
She also showed the team a specimen of a cheque which clearly showed that Dr Campbell had countersigned a cheque also signed by Taitt.
A report in the local press stated that police had begun investigating the misappropriation of tens of thousands of dollars from the school for special needs children. While Taitt was not named in the report, it said that the person at the centre of the investigation had been given 90 days to respond.
Meanwhile, Alleyne stoutly defended his client’s innocence, saying that she would be vindicated in the fullness of time.
“Suffice it to say that since there will be a criminal investigation at some point in time if newspaper reports are correct, Taitt will be interviewed by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and then at that stage she would have her say.
“Taitt will explain anything that needs to be explained. The whole matter would have to be looked at. I would take instructions from my client accordingly. I have not read the article carried today in another section of the press, but I would certainly have a look at it and instruct my client accordingly. If two officers in an institution are signing all cheques issued, it is only through forgery that an officer can cash a cheque. At this stage I do not want to get into any details about signatures on cheques. We do not want to explain anything at this stage. Trying a case in the media is not my style,” he stressed.
Alleyne contended that only people who have intimate knowledge of the case would be able to recognize the identity of the person written about in the article carried in the local press.
“To the general public and the media in general, nobody can put a name to the story. I do not want to prejudice Taitt’s position, because if the police have to charge Taitt, they would have to pick a jury from some place,” Alleyne explained.