Categorized | National News

Ash Questioned Over Freeze Order

Key witness Jonathan Ash took the stand for the sixth day to continue cross examination by lead defense attorney Keith Knight, QC, who questioned him about the freeze order issued by the government on his bank account.

The lead defense asked Ash if he was able to conduct business after the order was issued.  Ash responded and said, “Yes, they froze my money, not my account.”

Knight then asked if the freezing order had any effect on him.

Ash said not in terms of day to day business, adding that people were still able to wire money and pay him through his account.

He added that at no time did Commonwealth Bank tell him he could not access his account. 

The Jamaican QC then asked Ash if the name James Thompson was familiar to him, to which Ash said “no sir”.

Referring to the freezing order, Knight then asked Ash if he was aware that James Thompson was the council to represent him when the order was being served. 

To that Ash said, “I don’t know what the government was doing sir.” 

The lead defense attorney then asked if he was aware he was being investigated for fraudulently obtaining public funds at that time, to which Ash said he was not aware.

Again referencing the order, Knight said the government sought the order on the basis of an allegation that he fraudulently received public funds and also granted him immunity from prosecution. 

When asked if he was aware of this, Ash said yes. 

Additionally, Ash could not say when immunity was granted to him. 

The lead defense attorney further questioned when did Ash become aware of the immunity agreement and Ash said from his lawyer Alicia Bowe.

When asked if he was aware of the basis of the agreement, Ash noted that he understood it.

Knight then asked Ash if he understood the agreement to mean that if he cooperated with police, no criminal charges would be brought against him.  Ash replied no.

Knight then questioned if immunity was granted to him before he completed his statements to police.  The witness said he couldn’t recall.

The lead defense attorney then asked Ash if he was aware that the government wasn’t bringing charges against him when he gave his statement to police. 

Ash replied, “They couldn’t bring charges.  I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The court also heard that Ash’s first statement was signed on June 28, 2017, which is the day after his immunity agreement was signed.

At this time, he said it was when he was made aware that the government didn’t intend to prosecute him.

Knight then asked Ash if he recalled a Tribune reporter contacting him after the prime minister made statements about him in the House of Assembly.  Ash said yes. 

The Jamaican QC then asked if he recalled telling The Tribune, “boss man get off my phone” and then ending the conversation abruptly saying, “I don’t know Shane Gibson, you crazy?” Ash replied he didn’t recall. 

Knight then suggested to Ash that he was not telling the truth in this regard.

Knight asked Ash if he would ever deny that he knew Gibson and Ash said no. 

Court resumes on Wednesday at 10 a.m.  

Written by Jones Bahamas

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