HAITI PETROCARIBE: HOW MARTELLY/ ANNE VALERIE MILFORT ALLEGEDLY STOLE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS 

 

HAITI PETROCARIBE: HOW MARTELLY/ ANNE VALERIE MILFORT ALLEGEDLYSTOLE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

Petionville, Haiti – Five governments, two Presidents, four Prime Ministers, including dozens of Haitian bureaucrats from CNE, Haiti’s Court of Auditors, CNMP together with several Dominican and other foreign companies, conspired to do one thing and one thing only – embezzle as much money as possible from the Petrocaribe funds. So far, the Haitian Attorney General is silent on the issue.

For nearly a decade, the Petrocaribe funds designed to help Haiti out of poverty turned out to be a cash bonanza for Haitian bureaucrats, including  Anne Valerie Milfort, Chief of Staff of former President Michel Martelly.. Senator’s Youri Latortue’s report, conclusions, and recommendation exposed the extent of the corruption and Omegaworldnews is conducting its investigation into the Petrocaribe Fund; and will continue to call for prosecution of Wilson Laleau, Anne Valerie Milfort and others who allegedly  engaged in theft and corruption. OWN started a five-part series to look at each administration dating back to 2006 to expose the nature of the corruption and the people involved. But also, to keep the pressure on Haiti’s Attorney General to open a formal criminal investigation.

A few weeks ago, we examined the administration of Preval/Bellerive in which nearly 470 million dollars were unaccounted for. Fifty-seven (57) million dollars budgeted and used by CNE under the supervision of Jude Celestin, (another corrupt Haitian politician) to purchase equipment for the government. Another 13 million dollars disappeared within the Office of Prime Minister Duvivier Pierre Louis, and to this day none of it has been accounted for. Each bureaucrat left the government richer than they had started. There was no report by CNE or its director to explain why the government never received the equipment.

Today we look at the administration of Michel Martelly. During the presidential campaign of 2010, Michel Martelly made several promises to the Haitian people. One of them was to fight at all cost the endemic corruption problem that plague the Haitian government and render it ineffective and unresponsive to the needs of the populace. As soon as Martelly got sworn in, it did not take much time before Martelly, his wife Sophia Martelly, his son Olivier Martelly and his Chief of Staff Anne Valerie Milfort to engage and what is considered allegedly the biggest theft of government funds. The theft may not have been possible without the minister of finances, his former Minister of Finance whose signatures are displayed prominently on checks and other financial instruments including bogus contracts.

From July 12, 2012, to September 10, 2014, the Martelly administration had allocated nearly 880 million dollars from the Petrocaribe funds. This amount represents the biggest and the largest investment budget in Haiti s history. It was an opportunity to invest in infrastructure development. In a country where nearly 90 percent of the population has no access to drinkable water, health care, education, and proper nutrition, 880 million dollars could have done a world of good from Cap-Haitian to Jeremie.

Instead of investing in the country and its people, Martelly and Wilson Laleau had other plans for the money. Plans that did not include anything to benefit the population rather their families and close friends. As revealed by the investigation, the Martelly administration had several projects too many to count. But none of them had been realized because the projects were a front for something more sinister. Take for example the following projects: The Airport at L’ile a Vache; the Airport des Cayes; The viaduct of Carrefour; the Public Hospital of Fontamara; the Public market of Fontamara, the Hospital of Martissant, the Wharf of Jeremie, and the Jeremie Wharf in Cite Soleil in Port-Au-Prince. All these projects were listed to be funded by 880 million dollars.

Five years later, the 880 million dollars vanished without a trace; the projects exist in name only. Martelly and his family are worth allegedly hundreds of millions of dollars; his former Chief of Staff Anne Valerie Milfort is at the helm of the current administration aided by current President Jovenel Moise to ensure more corruption. Anne Valerie Milfort whose husband Patrick Milfort received were part owners of several front companies who received no-bid contracts for constructions. Neither Anne Valerie nor her husband Patrick Milfort or their two foreign (Belgium) born children have any experience in construction.

THE CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE – COMPANIES OWNED BY INSIDERS

Several companies formed by administration insiders for the purpose of siphoning millions of dollars of PetroCaribe funds are listed in the report issued by Senator Youri Latortue. These companies must be investigated and barred from ever conducting business in Haiti. There are the following SOTEC, INFRATEC, NOELSAINT CONSTRUCTION, SETRATEC, INTERLOC, BATI GRANDANS, IBT, and REPSA. These companies are either owned or operated by administration insiders such as Anne Valerie Milfort, her husband Patrick Milfort, Wilson Laleau, Olivier Martelly, and other family members.

As soon as Martelly arrived in the Haitian Palace, there were concerted efforts orchestrated by Anne Valerie Milfort to ensure that as much money as possible was siphoned. For example, almost all of these companies were formed either a year or less before Martelly was sworn in. Some of them were formed the day that they received the no-bid contracts. These companies operated as a front to facilitate the theft of the money. Some 880 million dollars were dispersed between 2012 and 2014 with almost nothing to show for it. Yet, le Commissaire du government is silent, and the Haitian Minister of Justice has thus far refused to take actions.

HOW THE 880 MILLION DOLLARS WERE DISTRIBUTED

The firm SOTEC was paid 45 million dollars under a contract to manage two specific construction contracts unaffiliated to the sum. In effect, SOTEC was paid just to be there and ensure the work is done. Work by the way everyone knew was not going to be done. These two contracts involved the Port of Jeremie in Jeremie, and the Wharf of Jeremie in Cite Soleil. SOTEC is owned partly by Anne Valerie Milfort and her husband Patrick Milfort, and members of the Martelly family.

The firm INFRATEC, SA received a no-bid contract for 8.5 million dollars to rehabilitate approximately 10 miles of road at Thomassique Circa La Source. Though the work was completed in 2016, and the poor quality reflects the lack of experience in road construction. Meanwhile, there are other companies such as Vorbe et Fils who are expert in such work in which Haiti could have benefited from their expertise – perhaps the Vorbes refused to pay a bribe. 

The following firms (NOELSAINT CONSTRUCTION, SETRAGEC, INTERLOC, BATI GRANDANS and IBT) are owned by Martelly administration insiders and some cases directly by the President or his Chief of Staff Anne Valerie Milfort’s family members. The Senate report reveals something amazing. These companies were receiving millions of dollars and in some cases full payment for the work they were supposedly assigned to do. Except that, there were no contracts between these companies and the country. In some instances, the money was going out so fast resulting in millions of dollars of overpayment to the companies. The Minister of Finance at the time Wilson Laleau has yet to explain or respond to these malfeasances.

The report reveals the following:

NOELSAINT CONSTRUCTION – received 2 million dollars for the rehabilitation of Rue Msgr Beauge in Jeremie work was never done. SETRAGEC received 13 million dollars for the rehabilitation of Rue Destinville Martineau in Jeremie – work was never completed. INTERLOC received 4.2 million dollars for the renovation of Rue Vital in Jeremie, work was never done. BATI GRANDANS, received 3 million dollars to renovate Rue Balthazar in Jeremie, and to this day, these streets in Jeremie have not been renovated. Some nearly 40 million dollars distributed to companies owned by government bureaucrats to do work that they never intended to do in the first place, but, life continues in Haiti as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, the two most notable culprits, ANNE VALERIE MILFORT AND WILSON LALEAU are continuing to operate inside the government.

Aside from the Jeremie Street construction conspiracy to defraud, other companies received money for work that was never done. Among them is IBT, it received a no-bid contract for the construction of the SIMBI Hospital for 6 million dollars – money the company received in full even before a building plan was filed. To this day, hospital SIMBI remains an idea. In addition to the 45 million construction management contract, SOTEC also received two other contracts totaling 40 million dollars. One was a 24-million-dollar contract to build the Port of Jeremie in Jeremie and 16 million dollars contract to construct the public market of Fontamara. SOTEC has absolutely no experience in direct construction or managing construction sites.

To this day, no one has been held accountable for the theft of nearly 2 billion dollars – money that could have been used to alleviate the pain of the population. Recently, President Jovenel Moise accompanied by Senator Youri Latortue went to Artibonite to launch what he calls a new economic initiative on agriculture. The 2 billion dollars could have been used to help develop the rice production in Artibonite. Currently, Haiti imports some 85 percent of foods it consumes.. Food security is a serious, vital issue that threatens Haiti. Aside from food security, Haiti has other pressing matters such as education, health, unemployment, and deforestation to name a few.. Unless someone is held accountable, corruption will continue.

 

Omega Staff Writers

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