PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – Five senators conducted the PetroCaribe report released by Senator Beauplan, three of them are members of the opposition. They have weaponized the report to sully the character of potential political rivals for the next presidential election. It is well a known fact that Beauplan has political ambitions and the best way to eliminate political opponents is to assassinate their character. Corruption is a huge problem in Haiti, but Beauplan’s intention here is not to fight corruption but to position himself to better engage in corruption himself. Omega has reviewed the report, and this is the first of a series of articles examining the involvement of each former government officials and whether or not there is evidence to support Beauplan’s conclusion of corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence. Today we start with Ms. Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin, former Minister of Tourism.

There is a general belief that Haiti is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is cancer that must be eradicated, but unfair allegations of corruption unsupported by facts, but motivated by hate, political considerations or payback would not solve the problem of corruption. Senator Beauplan did a disservice to the Haitian people by engaging in dilatory tactics to serve his political goals.

The PetroCaribe fund was meant to be entirely independent of the Haitian government’s regular budget. From 2006 to 2016 several administrations have passed resolutions ordering the administrator of the PetroCaribe fund to release money to the government to pay for specific public projects such as road construction. Each administration received millions of dollars from the PetroCaribe fund. The Martelly administration by far received the most money, some 800 million dollars. Each ministry would receive a budget from the government to conduct its work.

Haitian laws require that all government contracts are approved by the Court of Auditors whose members would review the contract and either approve or disapprove them. The law is not clear on the form of approval. Sometimes the court of auditors would approve a contract by affixing its seal on the last page; occasionally the president would send a letter to the minister requesting more information or approve the contract. Contracts for millions of dollars are scrutinized more seriously especially if it is a multiyear contract.

The ministry of tourism, by far not the most important ministry in Haiti, received less than 1% of the PetroCaribe fund between 2012 and 2015. Unlike the ministry of finance, the ministry of tourism had few dealings directly with the administrator of the PetroCaribe fund.. Nevertheless, the Beauplan report concluded otherwise with no factual evidence.

Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin was appointed the minister of tourism on May 16, 2012, and served until the end of the Martelly administration. Over the course of her tenure, she executed some 30 relatively small contracts dealing with agro-tourism, biodiversity for specific touristic destinations in Haiti such as L’ile-a-Vache and Jacmel. The contracts she executed were for minimal sums of money not necessarily associated with PetroCaribe and none of the contracts were for extended periods of time. Most contract durations ranged from 3 months to 12 months. In the grand scheme of things, her involvement with the misappropriation of 2.3 billion dollars of the Petrocaribe fund was non-existent, and there is no evidence in the report that shows otherwise..

According to the Beauplan’s report, a review of those contracts revealed the following:

1. Copies of the corporate documents for companies that received contracts were missing, or not attached to the contract;

2. Some of the contracts were not properly dated;

3. That the Court of Auditors did not affix their seal of approval on some of the contracts

4. That, some of the contracts call for a 2% down payment, but the company received more than 50% of the value of the contract;

5. The government failed to request a guarantee from companies who did not provide their corporate documents such as “Quitus” or “Patent”

6. Some of the contracts rather small violated government policies and regulations.

Unlike Senator Latortue’s PetroCaribe report, which was based on testimonial evidence from former government officials and bureaucrats; review of the documents submitted by witnesses, Beauplan’s report had none of the seriousness of a comprehensive report designed to reveal the truth. Instead, the committee did not interview any witnesses or request any documents. The people targeted were not asked to provide testimony to the committee.

For example, had the committee requested documents and/or testimony from Ms. Villedrouin, they would have found out that all the contracts were approved by the Court of Auditors by letters sent directly to Ms. Villedrouin from the president of the court of auditors. In a letter to Senators Beauplan and Youri Latortue (not part of the Beauplan report), reviewed by Omega, the former minister, provides evidence to the contrary which debunks the committee’s conclusion that she was incompetent or otherwise corrupt.

The Beauplan report is a compilation of papers with no evidence to support allegations of corruption or incompetence. Mr. Beauplan was not serious about conducting a thorough investigation into the misappropriation of the PetroCaribe fund, in fact, the only intention here seems to make wild accusations in the hope that those targeted would be so politically wounded that they would not present a threat to Beauplan’s political ambition.

Omeganews has always been an independent media organization that represents no one except the right of our readers to know the truth, whatever the truth is and without consideration to whoever may be impacted negatively by the truth. We take our jobs seriously, and one aspect of what we do is never to allow ourselves to be swayed by political consideration, political favors, jobs, or money. Politicians and government bureaucrats work for the people, and they must be honest. Guided by our principle of fairness and integrity, we will continue to inform our public base on the truth, and nothing but the truth. Our reporting follows the evidence wherever it may lead because we believe no single man or woman is above the law or must be allowed to live by different rules.

Omegaworldnews received Senator Beauplan’s PetroCaribe report, and our staff of writers and editors have reviewed the report thoroughly. We compared it with the prior report written by honorable Senator Youri Latortue, and we conclude that the Beauplan report is nothing but a well calibrated hit job, filled with inconsistencies, hearsay, and innuendos. A political move to sanitize senator Beauplan’s reputation or lack thereof.

The next article will be about the former Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Salvador Lamothe whose name appears in Beauplan’s report.

Omega Staff Writers

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