Gisele and Serpent’s case pushed back ‘til February

The committal hearing in the fraud case of former executive secretary of the Board of Education, D Gisele Isaac and radio host Algernon “Serpent” Watts was adjourned yesterday because the police prosecution was not ready to proceed.

This comes four months after they were charged, and now the new return date is another four months away, February 17, 2015.

On that day, it is expected they will know whether the prosecution can provide Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh with sufficient evidence, at least at first glance, to have the matter sent to the High Court.

Isaac and Watts have been charged in relation to suspected fraud at the Board of Education, where Isaac worked for 13 years, and where Watts was contracted as a debt collector.

The former BoE executive secretary, who is the current chairman of the opposition United Progressive Party, alleges the case is politically motivated, although members of the current administration have denied this.

Education Minister Michael Browne said a probe he initiated in August 2014 and carried out by McCaw Financial Consulting, revealed several irregularities, including that Isaac approved several salary increases for herself and presided over several missing cheques, while Watts was allegedly paid a higher than normal rate as debt collector or bailiff.

Isaac is charged with fraudulent conversion of $9,000, corruption, conspiracy with intent to defraud in relation to $13,983.97 and fraudulent conversion.

Watts is charged with conspiracy with intent to defraud the Board of Education of almost $14,000 and a failure to pay Education Levy.