Haiti:12 HAITIAN BUREAUCRATS THATALLEGEDLY SHOULD BE INDICTED FOR THEFT OF PETROCARIBE FUNDS


 

 

 

 

 

 

12 HAITIAN BUREAUCRATS THAT ALLEGEDLY SHOULD BE INDICTED FOR THEFT OF PETROCARIBE FUNDS

 

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – Haiti is known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.  But at least one person wants to do something about it – Haitian Senator YOURI LATOURE who chaired the Senate Commission on Ethics and Corruption released a final report of his investigation calling for the indictment and prosecution of 12 individuals who served in the Haitian Government between 2006 and 2016.

 

These individuals include Jean Max Bellerive, former Prime Minister of Haiti; Daniel Dorsainvil, and Marie Carmelle Jean Marie, former Ministers of Finance; Hebert Docteur, Minister of Agriculture; Josafa Gauthier, Minister of Planning; Florence Duperval, Minister of Health, Ms. Nonie Mathieu, President of the Court of Auditors; Jacques Gabriel, former Minister of TPTC, Arold Elie and Patrick Milfort are all accused of embezzlement, theft, corruption, fraud, money laundering and misappropriation of funds totaling 2.1 billion dollars.

 

Most of these alleged  thieves are either American Citizens or Green Card holders who are subject to American laws for crimes committed abroad.  It is doubtful if the current administration would ever prosecute any of these people.  Omega World News is calling on the United States Department Of Justice to prosecute those who are either American citizens or Green Card holders.

 

The written report released a couple of moths ago is an exclusive document that lays out the rampant corruptions, nepotism and blatant theft of government funds.  For the benefit of our readers, in the next few weeks Omega World News will publish a series of articles detailing the evidence against each of the twelve individuals starting with former Prime Minister, Jean Max Bellerive, .  These crimes must not go unpunished.  President Moise has a solemn duty to prosecute these miscreants
to the fullest extent of the law without regards to politics and party affiliations.

 

WHAT IS PETROCARIBE?

 

Early in 2000 Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister put together a regional  agreement known as
“PetroCaribe” as a form of economic aid to certain countries in the Caribbean and South America.  The intent was to assist under-developed countries like Haiti through the provenance of cheap petroleum products. The participants in the program resell these products domestically in order to increase their revenues. Haiti had been part of the PetroCaribe program since 2006.  The PetroCaribe Agreement stipulates that 20% of the profit was to be used to fund social programs such as education and health; 80% was to be used for capital investment purposes such as the building of infrastructure. To manage the PetroCaribe fund, late Haitian President Rene Preval adopted a formula that enhanced a bureaucrat’s ability to embezzle the funds. Unfortunately, Haitian bureaucrats found better use for the money – most of the money ended up in their bank accounts and those of their families and friends. (More on that later this week).

 

Haiti PetroCaribe program began in 2006 under the administration of Preval/Bellerive, and from them to Martelly, government bureaucrats have used the fund as a private bank account and misappropriated nearly 2.1 billion dollars. The recent senate investigation revealed how millions of dollars were paid to several companies which existed in name only – shell companies that were formed a few months before they received millions of dollars of contracts. Some of them existed only by virtue of a mailbox in Fort-Lauderdale, Florida. The companies were owned by members of the families or friends of Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, and other ministers such as Wilson Laleau and Josafa Gauthier (More on them later this week). The companies received full payment upfront without ever having to commence any of the work they were paid to perform, which clearly established a specific intent to steal. Millions of dollars of kickbacks were paid to the 12 individuals. In fact, in one instance a 22 million dollar contract and payment was made to a person who had been dead for two years, and the minister who signed on the contract after the person had passed away had been to the person’s funeral.

 

The PetroCaribe investigation marks a turning point in Haiti’s fight against corruption. The report is an uncompromising indictment of not only the 12 individuals allegedly  involved but also of all the foreign companies who supported, encouraged, aided and abetted these crimes by paying kickbacks to the bureaucrats. To understand the importance of the investigative report, one must understand the nature of what occurred during the last ten years and the norms that made such blatant theft possible. But more importantly how Haitian bureaucrats without conscience failed Haiti miserably. For the better part of a decade, these bureaucrats squandered a real opportunity to use the fund to finance much needed program such as education and healthcare. Instead the bureaucrats used the fund to enrich themselves and their families.

 

WHO MANAGED THE PETROCARIBE FUND FROM 2007-2016

 

In 2007, late President Rene Preval created the Bureau of Monetization of Aid to Development known by its acronym as (BMPAD). According to the report, BMPAD has an executive board of seven members including the executive director who is the governor of Haiti’s Central Bank. The other six members are Ministers of the Government they include: the prime minister, the minister of finance, minister of planning, minister of commerce, minister of health and minister of interior. In effect, BMPAD became an extension of the Haitian government with vast power to dispose of the funds as they see fit without much transparency and accountability.  BMPAD was authorized to order petroleum from Venezuela, resell the product to local wholesalers, and disburse the money in accordance with requests from the minister of finance. From 2007 to 2015, Mr. Michael Lecorps, one of the alleged 12 thieves, served as Director of  BMPAD. During his testimony before the investigative committee, Mr. Lecorps testified that BMPAD served as some sort of a “cashier” for the minister of finance, where ministers would request disbursement to individual companies and Mr. Lecorps would comply without questioning its legality.   Mr. Lecorps played a significant role in the conspiracy (More on Mr. Lecorps and his opulent life in the Dominican Republic later this week).

 

HOW DID 12 BUREAUCRATS STEAL SO MUCH MONEY?

 

Haitian law requires the Haitian government to submit to open bids all government contracts. However, under certain circumstances, the law allows the government to shortcut the waiting period in order to deliver much needed emergency services to the population. These conditions include for example, natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. But nothing in the law under any circumstance absolves the government of its obligations to follow the law of procurement or to ignore the bidding process. All government bureaucrats are presumably aware of the law and regulations and promised to abide by the same. However, in 2012, Haiti experienced a number of natural disasters (two hurricanes) and the government was allowed to short-circuit the waiting period, instead of doing that, they back dated all contracts to the emergency period and up to 2014 they were contracts that were never submitted to the bidding process, and the dates were changed to make it seem as if those contracts were negotiated within the six months period of the emergency.

 

The racket and the money laundering apparatus set up by Jean Max Bellerive and perfected by Wilson Laleau during the Martelly administration were anything but complex. After the 2010 the earthquakes Jean Max Bellerive signed 47 contracts totaling nearly half a billion dollars to one person, a certain Dominican Senator by the name of Felix  Batista (more on him later this week). All these contracts were supposed to be approved by the Courts of Auditors under the supervision of Ms. Nonie Mathieu. She signed on all the contracts knowing none of them had gone to the bidding process.   Ms. Nonie Mathieu, like the others, allegedly received kickbacks for signing off on the contracts. For each contract that was executed, payment was made in advance to these companies. For each payment that was made, the 12 officials involved received kickbacks from the companies. Nearly 300 million dollars were received in kickbacks. Money that was deposited in foreign bank accounts under the name of shell companies controlled allegedly  by the family members of Jean Max Bellerive, Wilson Laleau, Josafa Gauthier, Florence Duperval and others. (More on each alleged thief later this week).

 

During the last ten years, nearly 2.1 billion dollars had been disbursed by order of the Minister of Finance and other ministers to companies that existed in name only for construction of projects that never materialized. Since the creation of the PetroCaribe fund, no audit had been conducted to ensure compliance with the law of procurement and to detect corruption and nepotism. Under Preval/Bellerive, hundreds of millions of dollars supposedly spent on public projects were in whole or in part was missing and unaccounted for.  Meanwhile every minister had gotten richer by virtue of being in government function. For example, former Finance Minister, Wilson Laleau, who is currently the chief of Staff for President Jovenel Moise, Ms. Josafa Gauthier, the former Minister of Planning, Florence Duperval, Minister of Health and Herbet Docteur the former Minister of Agriculture have all accumulated by our calculation nearly a 100 million dollars of kickbacks during their time as heads of several government ministries. (More on each person later this week).

 

Why was Mr. Michael Lecorps allowed to run the PetroCaribe Fund for nearly ten years?  The answer is simple, Mr. Lecorps was the brain of the operation. He was allowed to stay because government ministers could rely on him to deliver as long as he received his part of the money. Finally, in 2015, Mr. Lecorps was replaced by Mr. Eustache Saintlo. Mr. Lecorps subsequently took a job with the same Dominican Company that he had been paying for no work – conflict of interest?? (More on him later this week).

 

Over the last ten years, the PetroCaribe program had accumulated 3.8 billion dollars. 1.7 billion dollars were paid to Venezuela, 2.1 billion dollars, a sum that could have helped the people of Haiti greatly had gone unaccounted for. What happened?  How could this be possible?  Mr. Lecorps, who is at the heart of the missing fund, testified that he did nothing wrong and  that his office operated as a “cashier” for the Minister of Finance. It is hard to believe that the Ministers of
Finance, Planning and Agriculture, including the Prime Minister were able to steal so much money without the acquiescent of other bureaucrats from the Courts of Auditors, the BMPAD and other government agencies charged with enforcing the procurement laws.

 

NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW>NOT EVEN JEAN MAX BELLERIVE OR MARTELLY.

 

Omegaworld news demands that each of these people be brought to justice to account for their participation in a conspiracy against the people of Haiti.  We will continue to push the issue, we will continue to give voice to the victims who are the poor people of Haiti whose trust had been violated.

 

To our readers: stay tuned for more articles and information about each person who had been involved in the misappropriation of the PetroCaribe funds.

 

Omega Staff Writers

 

 

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