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DeSilva not required to stand as witness

Allan DeSilva, the senior vice-president of Island Construction, was granted permission not to appear before the Commission of Inquiry yesterday, claiming lawful privilege as his answers could expose him to the possibility of prosecution.

Sir Anthony Evans, chairman of the commission, agreed with his lawyer, Jerome Lynch QC, that Mr DeSilva's move was “certainly not” any admission of having committed any offence.

While the commission refused an application to set aside Mr DeSilva's subpoena, it accepted that Mr DeSilva did not need to stand as a witness, as privilege against possible self-incrimination.

Yesterday's public hearing, the last until November, heard that a police investigation into the Port Royal Golf Course development appeared to coincide with the commission's own work.

Mr Lynch told the commission that Daniel Lemoine, formerly the project manager for the development, had been “contacted by lawyers on behalf of the Attorney-General” in France where he now lives, and presented with a list of 25 questions. However, no material had been provided in connection with it. Counsel said the investigation in respect of Ewart Brown, the former Premier, appeared to coincide with the commission's own investigation, adding: “I once again invite you to consider a subpoena for the Commissioner of Police as to materials in his possession.” Sir Anthony declined, saying the commission had no idea of the approach to Mr Lemoine but was duty-bound to proceed with its work.

Mr Lynch argued that while Dr Brown was likely the focus, there could be other co-defendants — and that in the absence of knowing what was being looked into by police, “it would be wrong to compel anyone to give evidence”.

He characterised the commission's three questions to Mr DeSilva as “pointed”, such as asking what discussions, if any, Mr DeSilva or anyone else connected with the company, had over contracts awarded by the trustees of Port Royal.

Mr DeSilva would also have been asked about political contributions from 2006 to 2009, and whether there had been “economic of other benefits” provided to persons in or linked to the Government. In the absence of any details from police, Mr DeSilva must “at least seek to protect himself”, Mr Lynch said, to which the commission agreed.

•In the interest of treating the Commission of Inquiry much like continuing court proceedings, The Royal Gazette has taken the decision to disable comments. This is done for the protection legally of both the newspaper and our readers

Sir Anthony Evans

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Published October 12, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm)

DeSilva not required to stand as witness

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