#UPDATE HAITI-BOSTON-MARYLAND:JOSEPH BAPTISTE: HAITI’S ENGINE OF ALLEGED CORRUPTION, BRIBERY, AND THEFT:

 

  1. JOSEPH BAPTISTE: HAITI’S ENGINE OF ALLEGED CORRUPTION, BRIBERY, AND THEFT:

 

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Dr. Joseph Baptiste appeared before a Judge on Thursday, September 7th, 2017  to respond to criminal charges resulting from a two-year undercover investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into his dealings with Haitian government officials.  Dr. Joseph Baptiste, once a pillar and a leader in the Haitian community stands accused of violating the Anti-Foreign Corruption Act by attempting to bribe Haitian government officials in connection with the construction of a Seaport in Port-De-Paix, the north part of Haiti. This is not surprising to many Haitians and should not be a surprised to non-Haitians either. For centuries Haiti has been a hotbed of corruption where government officials spend more time looking for bribes than performing their jobs.

 

In Haiti, “corruption is legal” said Haiti’s former President Michel Joseph Martelly referring to the ubiquitous nature of the vice. But, for corruption involving bribes and graft, two parties who are willing to entertain the crime are needed, the one who provides the bribe in exchange for services and those who accept the bribes in order to perform services that they are obligated by law to perform. There is another form of bribes that is somehow more repugnant and often denies the country of experience and knowledgeable vendors – pay to play. That is the kind of bribes that have crippled Haiti’s bureaucracy.

 

The arrest of Dr. Joseph Baptiste yet again confirms what many people suspected, that members of the Haitian Diaspora too often are too willing to aid and to abet in the commission of corruption in Haiti.Let us also state that ex minister Wilson Laleau was allegedly quoted saying : Dr. Joseph. Baptiste is the cream of the Diaspora.!

If he [ Dr. Baptiste ) is the cream of the diaspora than my friends we are in a hip of problems

 

What exactly is Dr. Baptiste accused of doing or attempted to do and who are his co-conspirators?  Omegaworldnews received a copy of the Affidavit of FBI agent, GARRET TROMBLY, and this article is based on the affidavit.

 

In the summer of 2014 exactly three years ago, the FBI received a tip from two American companies complaining that certain Haitian-American businessmen were offering to facilitate bribes to Haiti’s President, at the time Michel Joseph Martelly in exchange for receiving no-bid contracts similar to the Petrocaribe corruption probe.   The name of Dr. Joseph Baptiste came up as the man who could facilitate it all.

 

Dr. Baptiste is 64 years old and is a former colonel in the United States Army; a founding member of a few charitable organizations designed to help the poor children of Haiti. One of the organizations is the Haitian Diaspora Foundation and NOAH. He is also on the board of directors of a few other companies all conducting business in Haiti, including a mining company owned by the brother of former US presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton – the woman who could have been the 45th president of the United States if it was not for Donald Trump.

 

In 2015, Dr. Baptiste was introduced to a man who posed as a would-be investor in a port project near Mole St. Nicholas. Unbeknown to Dr. Baptiste, the man was an FBI undercover agent. A few weeks after the initial contact, Dr. Baptiste walked into the snake nest by meeting the man in a hotel room in Boston. There, the man and Dr. Baptiste discussed the Port project; his ability to bribe Haitian government officials; the many times he had done so; and how easy it is to do so. Dr. Baptiste also discussed the standard range of percentage of bribes for each project “normally between 10 to 15%”.

 

From there, Dr. Baptiste contacted his people in Haiti and made arrangements for a possible meeting, but before the meeting could take place money must exchange hands. Throughout the meeting, Dr. Baptiste as a former US Colonel was very aware of potential legal liability, because he kept instructing the man on how to avoid US scrutiny not knowing that his every word was being recorded. In order to bedazzle the man of his prowess, Baptiste gave the man a concrete example of his successful bribes of Haitian officials. Baptiste described how he paid bribes to secure a cellular network in Haiti by using a Haitian company together with his nonprofit in Maryland to funnel money to government officials. He lamented that he could use the same fool proof way to ensure a no bid contract for the Port-project in Mole St. Nicolas.

 

To start with Baptiste demanded $100,000 from the undercover agent and explained how the money would be disbursed. First, the money was to be routed through his non-profit organization, 80% of it may be used for a “project,” and the remaining 20% will go as a “tip” to government officials to secure deals and investments. The Port project in Mole St. Nicholas involved several other projects, including a cement factory, a petroleum storage area and touristic places. It was a very lucrative contract to have.

 

The undercover agent wired $50,000 to an account under the name of the non-profit control by Dr. Baptiste. A few days later, the agent sent a set of questions about the Project to Baptiste via email. The next day, the agent received an email from an aid to Haiti’s president describing the project’s finances, including its modular format and various avenues for investment. Attached to the letter was additional marketing materials, as well as pro forma financials for a cement factory, which he described as the part of the Port-Project closest to realization.  A few days later, Dr. Baptiste emailed the agent a letter dated December 4, 2015, signed by a “high elected official” in Haiti. The only top elected official in Haiti is the President. In the letter, the project was briefly described with a welcoming tone -“Haiti is open for business” but don’t forget the bribe.

 

On December 29, 2015, the new year came early to Dr. Baptiste, and his gift was priceless as Federal Agents swamped his comfortable home in Maryland in the early morning. He was presented with the evidence gathered against him. According to the agents, Dr. Baptiste knew there was no way out, he agreed to plead guilty and signed an agreement. He agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 371 which carries 2 to five years in prison.

 

Earlier this year, Dr. Baptiste reneged on his promise to plead guilty. His lawyers counseled him that he should fight the charges. The government promptly indicted Dr. Baptiste and arrested him. As of now, the indictment is sealed, and Omegaworldnews is considering filing a motion to have the indictment unsealed. This arrest and the issues involved is of utmost importance to Haitian Americans, and Haitians in Haiti under whose name those so called nonprofit organizations always collect money “to help the children.”

 

During the court hearing Mr. Baptiste agreed to and signed his conditions of release that included:

 

  1. Travel is restricted to the district of Maryland and Massachusetts (for court purposes only).
  2. He may not move residence without prior permission
  3. He must surrendering his passport
  4. He agreed not to obtain a passport or any other international travel documents
  5. He must avoid ALL contact, directly or indirectly with victims and witnesses as well as codefendants and coconspirators (Omegaworldnews is in the process of obtaining that full list); which is alleged to include Michel Martelly, Wilson Laleau, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Dr. R. Moise,R Boncy,and many more from Aristide to Preval,to Jean Lucien Ligonde’s groupto Elisabeth Coicou group including Martelly and the civil society etc.
  6. .Mrs Coicou is allegedly under investigation  for a contract of 22  millions US for the completion of 3 building for the Haitian parliament.

 

Mr. Baptiste will be reporting to the Pretrial Services Office for the District of Massachusetts

 

Look forward to our next article about Dr. Baptiste’s chances of winning this case as well as his next court proceeding.  Omegaworldnews reached out to Dr. Baptiste by telephone but, his mailbox was full.

 

Omega Staff Writers.

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