Saldivar confesses to receiving campaign contributions from Lev Dermen; denies bribery allegations

Saldivar confesses to receiving campaign contributions from Lev Dermen; denies bribery allegations

by Caribbean Chronicle
2:13 am UTC, February 15, 2020

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020. 8:06 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: After initially denying receiving any funds from Lev Dermen, ex-Minister of National Security John B. Saldivar now admits two instances of receiving such funds; this is after reflecting on Jacob Kingston’s testimony this week in Salt Lake City, Utah in the trial of Lev Dermen.

Yet Saldivar maintains he has done nothing wrong (other than implicitly withholding the truth from his boss Prime Minister Dean Barrow and fellow Cabinet ministers), and that the whole story has not been told.

Of the messages provided to reporters directly from the District Court by way of the Salt Lake Tribune, he says, “those messages do not appear to accurately reflect my recollection of any conversation with Jacob Kingston. Mr. Kingston’s credibility as a witness is highly questionable and expert scrutiny of the text messages reveal serious discrepancies that creates high suspicion of being deliberately manufactured.”

Yet he cites that testimony later to say, “I was always careful not to say that I did not receive any cash because I knew that I did received campaign contributions from Lev Dermen just like many other politicians on both sides of the aisle who knew Lev Dermen. These contributions were not tied to any favor or quid pro quo, hence were not illegal or improper. Jacob Kingston himself has testified in one instance of campaign contributions, and in another instance was unable to say the reason for the monies. At no time in his testimony has Kingston referred to bribery in connection with any monies he claims to have given to me or to have seen given to me. The media and others are ignoring this fact.”

And he repeats that he was not bribed, did not discuss moving any money from the United States to Belize, and did not knowingly participate in any corrupt or wrong action. Yet he does not explain how the US$50,000 he allegedly received in Miami in February 2014 made it to Belize.

And he admits that had he had disclosed this information during the party leadership race, he would have been fired from cabinet and would have had to leave the UDP party leadership in to his friend and rival Patrick Faber.

He now says he deeply regrets that decision: “I should have opted to make full disclosure to Cabinet and to the public from the outset. This mistake was unnecessary and avoidable since there was nothing wrong or illegal about receiving campaign funds. Today, I apologize to Cabinet and to the general public for this poor judgment, however, I repeat that I have not been the beneficiary of any bribe nor the participant in any corrupt deal and there has been no testimony to the contrary.”

Saldivar makes note that his political career is not over and he plans meetings with constituents and colleagues to discuss “the way forward,” a reference to his Leadership campaign slogan.

Source: Breaking Belize News.

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