The attorney for former Nassco Ltd car sales executive Martin King today told the Employment Rights Tribunal his client was acting on orders when he presented vehicle valuations to one of the company’s major customers without seeing the vehicles.
King and another ex Nassco employee, St Clair Roach, are claiming unfair dismissal in a case surrounding the valuation he gave to cars owned by Premier Pre-owned Vehicles Inc and Executive Rentals, whose owner was designated a “fleet customer” – a customer who buys two or more vehicles at a time and has the privilege of having their vehicles valued without them actually being presented for valuation.
During the two-and-a-half-hour sitting of the tribunal today, during virtually all of which King was cross examined by Nassco’s legal counsel Marcel El Dahar, the fired employee’s legal counsel Shane Brathwaite said his client was one of the employees at the bottom of the business chart.
Therefore, Brathwaite told the panel chaired by attorney-at-law Omari Drakes and including John Williams and Beverley Beckles, that King carried out valuations upon the orders of Director Tom Corbin and Body Shop Manager Mark Roach.
In any event, he said, the system which shows the date on which the vehicle was manufactured, the chassis number, and the vehicle’s original colour was issued by the company and could not be altered.
King’s attorney also sought to challenge El Dahar’s contention that Premier Pre-owned vehicles was not a fleet customer and therefore could not benefit from valuations by personnel employed by Nassco Ltd.
“Premier Pre-owned Vehicles and Executive Rentals were owned by the same person and could have benefited from valuations done by Nassco Ltd personnel. It was also part of King’s duties to do valuations on individual vehicles. Not seeing the vehicle and doing valuations was part of King’s training,” Brathwaite said.
King had told the tribunal yesterday the owner of Premier Pre-owned Vehicles and Executive Rentals was known to Nassco for over ten years, and benefited from such a service.
However, King had denied a suggestion that he gave the owner fraudulent valuations so that he could access loans from a lending facility run by Nassco.
During El Dahar’s cross examination today he sought to establish that in the execution of his duties King did not act professionally, honestly and faithfully when he did valuations of vehicles without carrying out an inspection.
In response, King pointed out that it was an accepted practice of the company to conduct such valuations and that he had been trained both internally and in Trinidad and Tobago to conduct valuations, which he described as a simple exercise, but could be questioned in terms of accuracy.
King also said he was unaware that his actions had cost the company $1 million and had brought it into disrepute.