CEO claims former employee nearly destroyed his business
Businessman Bertille ‘Silky’ DaSilva has called his former employee who is on 52 charges of theft and fraud, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and alleged that she maxed out his credit card.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Star Garage told the Serious Offences Court, and prosecutors, crown counsel Karim Nelson and Rose-Ann Richardson that the defendant, Nigerian-born Eunice Dowers “nearly mash up the Garage,” and their credit rating.
Dowers has been charged with, between August 1, 2018, and January 31, 2019, unlawfully using the credit card and cheque book of Bertille DaSilva. She is represented in her defence by lawyer Grant Connell.
Counsel Richardson had been in the process of asking DaSilva about the credit card that was issued by CIBC First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB).
DaSilva said that the card was kept in a cabinet in his office at Star Garage. He stated that the credit card’s maximum was over $100,000.
He said he did not give Dowers permission to order personal items for herself, retain information from the credit card, use the card to make purchases for other persons, buy airline tickets for herself and her husband, purchase phone credit or use it to purchase exercise equipment.
“Did you ever tell Mrs Dowers that she can use the card whenever she feels like?” Richardson asked him.
“No way. Who will do that? Who will do that? Especially a man like me?…Who?,” DaSilva replied and laughed, saying “especially a Nigerian”.
He insisted “I was so surprised cause I thought that my credit card was secured.” He had said his employee, Marlon Stephenson had told him the card was declined.
“That couldn’t! That couldn’t” he said he responded, “‘There’s a lot of money on that card’ and I called the bank immediately, they say somebody hacked your card.”
He continued that they investigated and “Is then, then we realize what was happening with that criminal over there (referring to Dowers).”
When he found out about his credit card, DaSilva said “I nearly drop down because I couldn’t understand that.”
He said he only gave Dowers permission to use the card once to order something for Star Garage, and he took it back from her.
Cheque books were also shown in evidence, and it was explained that Dowers, once a secretary, had been promoted to the post of customs broker during her time at the Garage. One of her duties was to clear products at customs.
For the cheques, she would write the amount needed to clear the items, and they would be signed by DaSilva. The books in evidence appeared to show figures and other items crossed out or replaced in some cheques.
Sometimes he said that Dowers said she didn’t know the amount, and he expected her to fill it in later.
However, she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to, and instead, DaSilva said, while calling her “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” was taking these cheques to clear personal items that she ordered.
As for receipts, the CEO claimed that he learnt that Dowers was being abusive to the person that was expected to collect them and that this person was afraid of Dowers. She was also, he claimed, not returning the receipts regularly.
DaSilva said he never suspected anything before the card was declined, although he does receive bank statements.
The businessman claimed he has only seen Dowers once, at the police station, since he discovered the situation. He said he insisted on seeing the 28-year-old at the station because he was so surprised.
Imitating her, DaSilva said the defendant said, “Mr DaSilva I’m sorry! I don’t want to go to jail. I’m sorry Mr DaSilva.”
He claimed to have asked her why she used it, and relayed her reply as “I saw Joshua using it. So I thought I could have used it too”, and, “Forgive me Mr DaSilva. Forgive me Mr DaSilva.”
The Joshua referred to here is Joshua DaSilva, Bertille’s nephew, who is also employed in the business.
The businessman asked her about the amount, and he claimed she told him it was “only about $30,000”.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne is presiding over the three-day trial which is set to end today, Friday, January 9.