PETIONVILLE, HAITI – Patrick Norame the former head of the PetroCaribe Fund appointed by provisional President Jocelerme Privert is nowhere to be found. Some believe that he had escaped Haiti to avoid prosecution for embezzlement, others think he is still in Haiti under the protection of his political benefactor Jocelerme Privert.  In February of 2016, Jocelerme Privert became a caretaker president to avoid a constitutional issue when President Martelly who failed to organize fair elections attempted to prolong his five-year term. 


Mr. Privert was appointed by a committee composed of senators and deputies with a specific mandate to organize presidential elections. Apparently, Mr. Privert did more than organizing elections. Like others before him, he had to guarantee his retirement. One of his first official acts was to go after the gravy train – The PetroCaribe Fund. On April 18, 2016, Mr. Privert with the support of Senator Evaliere Beauplan and others, appointed Patrick Norame as the head of the Petrocaribe fund. Mr. Norame a former employee of the World Bank came highly recommended if not for his intellect but his penchant for misappropriation of government resources.


On April 19, 2017, Mr. Norame took over the Petrocaribe fund replacing Eustache Saint-Lot. Mr. Norame wasted no time to ensure that he, Mr. Privert, Senator Evaliere Beauplan would be taken care of. Between his short time at the helm of the GRAVY TRAIN – a new name for the PetroCaribe fund – he allegedly misappropriated some 80 million dollars, money many believe to have ended up in the bank accounts of Mr. Norame, Mr. Privert, and Senator Beauplan.


To cover the brazen theft of the 80 million dollars, Mr. Privert commissioned a special investigative report designed to absolve him and Mr. Norame of any liability. With the help of his accomplice, senator Evaliere Beauplan, a Senate committee was hastily put together to come up with a report. Mr. Privert a co-conspirator who allegedly assisted in the misappropriation of the 80 million dollars again served as an after the fact accessory to embezzlement by sponsoring a report designed to shift attention from the real culprits (Mr. Norame, Mr. Privert, Mr. Beauplan and others) to other former officials who were barely involved or received funds from PetroCaribe.


A week after the release of the Beauplan report, Privert noticed the backlash from the Haitian media quickly convene a meeting at his house in Port-Au-Prince. According to sources who were in the room, the  meeting was well attended by Lavalas senators and supporters. The purpose was to figure out how to combat media backlash of the report. As usual, Omegaworldnews was discussed as a major nuisance. Omega was the first media outlet to quickly review the reports and ripped it apart for its inconsistencies and outright lies. This newspaper concluded that Beauplan’s report was influenced by partisan politics where the guilty parties made counter-accusations, admitted the things they could not deny (Patrick Norame was the head of Petrocaribe fund) and deny the things they could not admit (that under Mr. Norame 80 million dollars vanished without a trace).


Since the release of the Beauplan report, the Haitian French-speaking media have questioned the veracity and the truthfulness of the report, the integrity, credibility of the sponsor of the report and its authors. But what became interestingly apparent and somewhat remarkable is that a number of people who were either directly in charge of the fund, or had supervisory power over those who managed the fund was not even named in the report much less investigated. For example, former president Michel Martelly, his wife Sophia Martelly, his son Olivier Martelly, and their cronies who turned PetroCaribe into their private bank account were not investigated. The question is why??


The Petrocaribe saga has enmeshed the current administration in an uncomfortable situation where the United Nations has called for tangible actions to curb government corruption. But President Jovenel Moise whose ascendancy to power must be credited to his predecessor, and political benefactor find it easy to make nice statements about corruption instead of taking concrete steps to combat corruption.  A week ago, speaking in Port-Au-Prince, Mr. Moise said Haiti has five problems all of them is corruption.


Let us remind Mr. Moise that while we at Omega appreciate his acknowledgment of corruption, we will be more impressed if he takes concrete actions.  Mr. Moise cannot be taken seriously, when his chief of staff, WILSON LALEAU, a former minister of finance and commerce under Martelly, was named in the Youri Latortue report for misappropriation of funds. Specifically, Mr. Wilson received kickbacks for granting construction contracts to companies that he had a pecuniary interest in. One of the companies is now being investigated. While the president is talking about corruption, his house is filled with corrupt people, perhaps Mr. Moise might want to clean his own house first as a sign of good faith.


Omega Staff Writers

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