The Customs Supervisor in Bequia was brought before the Serious Offences Court on Monday charged with theft of government money and corruption.
Julia Phillips, of Bequia, pleaded not guilty to a charge that between Aug. 14 and Sept. 25, 2018, at Bequia, she stole EC$43,626.91, in cash, the property of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
She pleaded not guilty to that charge, as well as the corruption charge.
The state is alleging that between the same dates, also at Bequia, Phillips, being employed in the Public Service and being charged with performance of any duty, by virtue of such employment corruptly solicited, received or obtained property, to wit EC$43,626.91 in cash for herself on account of anything to be afterwards done or omitted to be done by her in the discharge of her duties of her office as Supervisor of Customs and Excise Department, Bequia branch.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche did not object to Phillips’ bail.
And, in keeping with the prosecutor’s request, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias granted the accused woman EC$60,000 bail with one surety and ordered her to report to the Port Elizabeth Police Station on Monday and Thursday.
She was also ordered to surrender her travel documents.
The court also ordered that stop notices be placed at ports of entry and exit, preventing the woman from leaving the jurisdiction, and that she seek the permission of the court to leave the jurisdiction.
Defence counsel, Grant Connell asked the court to allow the woman to retain her national identity card.
He said that when the court in St. Vincent and the Grenadines orders someone to surrender their travel documents, it encompasses passport, driver’s licence, and national identity card.
Connell argued that this means that such a person has no identity in the country and cannot complete a bank or money transfer transaction.
He said that the Electoral Office, which issues national identity cards, no longer gives a print out of the document.
However, the magistrate noted that the problem is that one can travel using their national identity card.
Connell, however, pointed out that the court had ordered that stop orders be placed at ports of entry and exit.
Browne-Matthias told the lawyer that the court is aware of the nature of the border of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and was not granting his request.
“That’s a bit harsh, your honour,” the lawyer said.
He asked for full disclosure in the matter.
The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.