ANTI-CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS, JOVENEL MOISE AND THE PERPLEXING UCREF REPOR/Omega StaffT

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ANTI-CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS, JOVENEL MOISE AND THE PERPLEXING UCREF REPORT

As Omega World News had anticipated, the report of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission of the Haitian parliament, has fostered what appeared to be a sudden zeal for transparency amongst Haitian governmental agencies.  As soon as the Commission announced its work on the opacity of the management of Petrocaribe funds, different governmental agencies hurriedly undertook to do the same.

Irrespective of the justification for such late mobilization, the sudden mobilization of various entities suddenly willing to speak up, called for the same support as that granted by the public to the report of the parliamentarian Commission of Ethics and Anti-Corruption.

The more watchdogs are alerted to an issue, the merrier for a people such as that of Haiti, who have long suffered from indescribable neglect by corrupt governments.  Irrespective of personal motivation, self-serving bias, partisan considerations, it is expected that public spending should undergo scrutiny.  And if officials or former officials should feel insulted or vexed because they are asked to report, than they should not seek (or not have sought) public office in the first place.

Senator Youri Latorue, when he first submitted the Ethics and Anti-Corruption report of the Senate, stated:  “Reporting to the people should be considered a core essence of public service; because such service embodies the notion of working not just for oneself, but equally and if not more, for others.  Thus the obligation of reporting to them, especially when elected, is not negotiable.”

For now, however, those are oftentimes just words.  But, with words and good will, change begins.  The interest is therefore shifting to the UCREF (l’Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers which translates into the Centralized Unit of Financial data) who has published a report on how Jovenel Moise, a candidate of PHTK (political party of former President Martelly and former Prime Minister Lamothe), is said to have increased his asset base without justification.  Whether or not these charges are eventually retained, the description of what appears as fraud leaves more questions than answers.

The report states that the findings that indicate suspicious increases in the estate of Jovenel Moise rely mainly on the fact that he, as shareholder and CEO of some corporations, from march 2007 to Mai 2013, he has acquired 29 (28 new and 1 used) vehicles, while before that period he had 16 vehicles, 12 used and 4 new for his businesses.  And, that of the 29 vehicles acquired over such a period (roughly 5 years), 11 were registered on the same day to his name or his corporation’s name (unclear).  Also from Jan 2013 to April 29, 2013 it is stated that he has gradually deposited totally approximately 5 million dollars on accounts linked to him or his businesses (unclear).

It is stated that “these acquisitions and these numbers are not sustained by commercial activities or Salaries.”  However it is not said whether or not there was a loan that could have justified these deposits or even new business activity.  The report somehow states that in light of past trends, these deposits are deemed unusual and later adds that ““In view of what precedes, it is possible that M. Jovenel Moise manipulates funds that have nothing to do with his enterprises.”

Knowing that unusual does not equate to illicit.  Knowing that UCREF acknowledge awaiting additional documentation from some banking institutions, knowing that it apparently did not perform an audit at the firms in question, nor did it apparently question Jovenel Moise the primary interested to see if he could provide clarification, nor did it have access to most supporting documents from which a narrative could be extrapolated, the question of whether or not this report could be used as a political tool, arises.

The one truly noteworthy element is that many deposits are made in cash on a national bank of Credit account (BNC) and that many of those deposits where above the authorized limit as per which the source of funds must be declared.  While this is to be further analyzed, UCREF fails to advise that the banking institution (state owned in this case) is the one who is to fill a source of fund form.  Not the client.  While the concerns are possibly legitimate, the report in itself is incompletely documented leaving obvious questions as to whether or not UCREF that, unlike the parliamentarian Commission is vested with powers to obtain key banking information, really performed an earnest audit.   This will be eventually determined by the public prosecutor’s office who is faced with the limitations imposed by campaigning laws, which provide temporary immunity to all candidates.

It is not because OMEGA World News does not see a thorough substantiation of the UCREF report that it does not believe that there is justification in enquiring about the funding to AGRITRANS.  There is likely merit to an audit but it should likely address the source of funding for the Banana project of M. Moise, the conditions under which the loan was provided (or the grant) as well as the return on investment.  When public funding is granted whether in financing or other forms, the public once more is entitled to be made aware of all relevant details.

In this perspective, the only response provided by J. Moise was to state that the report was the expression of traditional prejudice that refused to allow for the idea that a black person could be financially well to do.  And that the UCREF position came at least in part from the stigma that a person such as him, could not hold numerous bank accounts.

Omega is uploading the report for the perusal of its readers.  It apologizes for not having an English version which it hopes to locate for the benefit of all interested in assessing the impartiality and/or the thoroughness of the UCREF review.

Report published in August of 2016

Attached report of UCREFF

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