Scholarship student robbed of cash speaks out amid fraud claims

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Football scholarship student, Cadeejah Proctor, said that this week, going back to the day in 2017 when she was robbed of scholarship funds which she was supposed to return to the government, has been like a “nightmare”.
She said this in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media yesterday, as she refuted recent suggestion on another media that the robbery incident involved some sort of fraud between her and head of the scholarship programme, Maurice Merchant.
The 21-year-old scholarship student said contrary to the report, there was no arrangement between her and anyone to split the money. Plus, claims by the news agency that this was said in court, are also false.
“I was supposed to go and take back the money, the half to return to the government because we were supposed to go to ABIIT to do our studies so he [Merchant] said [since] we’re doing the studies locally we [must] return the rest, the half to the government. I didn’t know it was to return in cheque so I went to the bank and get the money. A slip was fixed on the cheque saying we have to refund $13,500 to the government,” she said.
Taking a step back into the history of the matter, Proctor had been given a scholarship to study in the United States, but was denied a visa when she applied.
Unable to pursue her studies abroad, she agreed to take the scholarship to attend the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology (ABITT).
Having received her scholarship cheque for $27,000, on April 18, 2017 which was for studies abroad, she was advised she would have to return $13,500 since she was going to pursue her studies locally.
She said her friend, who was also a scholarship recipient, advised her that she spoke with Merchant, and said she could return cash.
Proctor’s comments to OBSERVER media are reflected in the statement she gave to the police last year when she was robbed while on her way to return the scholarship money.
The incident was caught on surveillance camera, leading to the arrest of her attacker.
Proctor said she was shocked when she heard the allegations on the news that she gave money to Merchant and was keeping half for herself.
“That whole story wasn’t true, with the fraud business … Me, I never knew the guy [robber]. The only person that knew I had the money was the other student,” she added
When asked if she believes the other student set her up she replied, “I don’t know, I don’t know if she knows the person that did it, I don’t know. Me and her were supposed to return the money but she didn’t show up so I went.”
Proctor said she is still studying at ABIIT and is simultaneously working at a local hotel, giving back to the country in whatever way she could.
She described the entire robbery ordeal and the recent news reports as “terrible, like a nightmare, like I never wanted to experience.”
Prior to Proctor speaking out, Merchant denied the news reports in a statement which read, “The report is totally false. At no time have I received any funds in any shape or form from the students…”
Last Friday, Collin Browne was sentenced to three years in jail after admitting a month prior that he robbed Proctor. He said he didn’t benefit from his crime because someone stole the money from the place at Yasco Sports Complex where he had hidden it after the robbery.
The court heard that Browne, who has many convictions, had been following the student from Market Street after she left the bank. And, he cornered her on the lonely road leading to the office of the prime minister and robbed her.
The incident was caught on camera, leading to his arrest.

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