DeSilva: ‘No involvement’ in Savvy loan
A former Progressive Labour Party government minister arrested by police at his home the day after the General Election triumph hit back yesterday and insisted he had nothing to hide.
Zane DeSilva, a former tourism and transport minister, confirmed the Friday night raid was in connection with almost $800,000 of public cash given to US music promoter Anthony Blakey to create a recording studio in Dockyard.
But he insisted he had “absolutely no involvement” in the deal. He added: “Had the police asked me for whatever information or documents they sought, I would have gladly handed whatever over to them — without any hesitation — without the need for what was effectively a mob-handed police raid”.
Mr DeSilva said: “Had they sought answers to questions that needed resolution, I would have gladly assisted them in any way I could. I have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide.”
But Mr DeSilva added: “Instead, they chose to arrest me, search my home and my business and hold me in custody for an interview for a period of almost nine hours.
“I do understand the need for the police to act on information they receive about apparent wrongdoing and to properly investigate any such circumstance.”
He said: “I do not and have never expected any special treatment, in any walk of life, because of my business and political positions within our community but I, like every other citizen in Bermuda, expect to be afforded the respect to which we are all entitled, before the police adopt unnecessary and oppressive measures to pursue their tasks.”
The 2018 loan agreement with Mr Blakey said that the money would be used to set up a top-level recording studio for Bermudian and international artists and to ship recording equipment to Bermuda. A studio was expected to be set up in historic Moresby House, on Pender Road, in Sandys.
But a civil action filed at the Supreme Court in June last year against Mr Blakey and Danilee Trott, who worked for Savvy, said they had defaulted on $778,204 of the loan.
Ms Trott said that she did not hold any shares in Savvy and did not get any of the loan cash.
Mr DeSilva claimed the raid on his home was part of a pattern of police concentration on people linked to the PLP.
Mr DeSilva said: “This is yet another example of oppressive tactics, seemingly aimed at some of us on one side of the political divide, be it the pointless Commission of Inquiry focused on the PLP, Dr Reddy's illegal arrest, Dr Brown's near ten-year criminal investigation — it has all cost millions of dollars for nothing, yet it continues to blight our progress both island-wide and in the eyes of the international community.”
The Commission of Inquiry in 2017 found that seven government business dealings had evidence of “possible criminal activity”.
The commission was set up to look into findings by the Auditor-General for the financial years from 2009 to 2012.
The Court of Appeal upheld a Supreme Court decision that the 2016 arrest of Mahesh Reddy, the medical director of Bermuda Healthcare Services, owned by Ewart Brown, a doctor and former premier, was unlawful.
Dr Reddy was arrested as police investigated whether expensive patient scans ordered were not needed. Dr Reddy and Dr Brown, now retired from medicine and politics, denied any wrongdoing.
Mr DeSilva said: “I have been elected by the people of Southampton East to serve them — that is all I have ever wanted to do, that is all I have ever done and that is what I will continue to do.”
Police received a complaint from the Government last week in connection with Mr Blakey and Savvy Entertainment, an exempted company owned by him when it was incorporated in 2016.
Lawyers for the Government have failed to find Mr Blakey in Georgia to serve him with a legal demand to return the bulk of the taxpayer funds, plus interest.
• To view the full statement released by Zane DeSilva, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”
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