Watson charged in HSA probe

| 20/11/2014

(CNS): The former chairof the health service authority board has been charged with a catalogue of corruption offences and money laundering in connection with a health insurance swipe card system contract worth $11M awarded by the hospital during his time as chairman of the HSA board. Canover Watson was charged by the anti-corruption cops on Thursday, following his arrest more than two months ago at his home in Prospect in August. The 43 year old businessman who was until recently a member of FIFA’s audit committee was bailed to appear in court next Tuesday facing five counts. However the anticorruption commission said it anticipates bringing further charges.

Watson, who has been a prominent leader in the community denied all of the allegaitons in the wake of his arrest in a short statement.

He had said at the time:  "The allegations are denied. In due course, at the proper time and in the appropriate forum, I look forward to setting out my position in greater detail. For present purposes, since the police investigation is ongoing, I have been advised by my attorneys that it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment."

He is now charged with Conflict of interest contrary to section 19(2) and 19(3) Anti-Corruption Law 2008; Breach of trust contrary to section 13 Anti-Corruption Law 2008; Fraud on government contrary to section 11 Anti-Corruption Law 2008; Failing to disclose a pecuniary interest contrary to section 10(1) Health Services Authority Law 2005; and Money laundering – acquired criminal property in the amount of US$50,000 contraryto section 135(1) Proceeds of Crime Law 2008.

All of the charges are understood to relate to a multi-million dollar contract awarded in 2010 to AIS Cayman for a swipe-card billing system at the hospital. Although no details have yet been revealed it is understood that Watson may have had direct links to the company which was one of two firms that were evaluated for the contract by a technical committee appointed by the former administration but which also included several government officials as well as Watson.

Since the firm began running the billing system at the hospital however, questions have been asked about the award as the company is receiving 4% of the value of every swipe card transaction at the hospital via CINICO which is being sucked out of the public purse.
Watson is now expected to be appear in Summary Court on 25 November.

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