WASHINGTON, DC – The embezzlement of Haiti’s Petrocaribe fund demonstrates how pervasive corruption is in Haiti. Over 2.1 billion dollars that could have been used to alleviate the pain and suffering of everyday Haitians ended up in the pockets of over 20 former and current Haitian government officials. Some of these people are still working in the government. For example, Wilson Laleau, the alleged architect of the PetroCaribe theft is currently serving as Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise’s chief-of-staff, even though a Senate investigation early last year found that Mr. Laleau and others have misappropriated over 80 million dollars of the PetroCaribe fund through kickbacks from companies that he had an interest in.


President Moise admitted two weeks ago that corruption is very pervasive in Haiti, but his recent decision, to renew the mandates of fifty allegedly corrupt Haitian judges indicates his unwillingness to take the fight against corruption seriously. Mr. Moise cited a report he was waiting for, that he never received as a reason for his decision. The spokesperson for the American embassy in Port-Au-Prince and the United Nations representative in Haiti called on Mr. Moise to take concrete steps to fight corruption, but Moise will be fighting against a severe headwind that could earn him new enemies.  Unless he is forced to take action, he will continue to pay lip service to the issue of corruption.


The United States government can apply pressure and force him to take serious actions against corruption. The US currently provides nearly one-third of the Haitian government operating budget in the form of foreign aid. The Trump administration must make continuation of foreign aid conditional on measurable progress in fighting corruption. The US and the UN can do more than asking him to take concrete actions. The US can demand the creation of a UN-backed corruption-busting agency like “GIGI.”


The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym (“GIGI”) is a UN-backed body that has been investigating corruption for more than a decade in Latin America. Guatemala is one of two countries in Latin America where corruption fighters are having conspicuous success. The other country is Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy where prosecutors brought charges against scores of politicians, including Brazil president Michel Temer for bribery.


Such an agency would have similar success in Haiti. For many years, Haitian politicians and government officials have perfected the arts of corruption to include bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation of government money and other resources, kickbacks, pay-to-play scheme, nepotism. The corruption permeates every level of the Haitian government from the Haitian palace to the Haitian consulate in New York; every government appointee had been allowed to engage in graft because their superiors are doing the same.


For example, the Haitian customs is one of the more profitable Haitian agencies. Customs has been a cash cow for government officials. Omega is currently investigating the Haitian customs and will publish its findings. The Haitian consulates have been a source of corruption where the foreign ministry and the   general consuls have used government funds as their private bank account when the consulate can barely afford to pay its employees timely.


In the last 10 years (2007-2017), three presidents and more than five prime ministers and their underlings had used the Petrocaribe fund as their private bank account. Billions of dollars had been misappropriated.  A Senate investigation by Senator Youri Latortue was released early last year. The investigation concluded that the following present and former Haitian government officials should be indicted for alleged embezzlement: Wilson Laleau, Jean-Max Bellerive, Marie Carmelle Jean Marie,Olivier Martelly,Sophia Martelly, Michael Lecorps, Florence D. Guillaume,  Yves St. Germain, Jacques Rousseau, Josepha Gauthier, and  Daniel Dorsainvil. Given that Wilson Laleau is presently the chief of staff for President Jovenel Moise, one should not expect Mr. Moise to take any serious actions against corruption.


The judiciary is one of the most corrupt in Haiti, and the attorney general who served at the pleasure of the president would not dare issue arrest warrants unless cleared by the president. Political observers do not expect Mr. Moise to bite the hand that feeds him. The only viable solution is outside pressure from the United States government and the UN for an independent agency to investigate corruption.  GIGI has been successful in Latin America. Part of GIGI’s mandate is to strengthen Guatemala’s institutions such as the police, the courts, and prosecutors. GIGI has created specialized courts for organized crime, and they have successfully prosecuted former presidents and vice presidents and scores of businessmen and other politicians who have engaged in corruption.  Honduras, Guatemala’s neighbor, adopted a GIGI like agency backed by the Organization of American States (“OAS”).


Overwhelming corruption is crippling Haiti, and unless something is done soon, the country will continue its downward spiral towards more poverty, more impunity. We are calling on the US and the UN to do more for Haiti than making simple suggestions.

A reminder President Jovenel Moise is currently under indictment by UCREF for money laundering etc.

IBT which is a US Corp and Wilson Laleau are allegedly under investigation for allegedly misappropriation of 100 millions of Petrocaribe.

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,ex Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, 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, Patrick Milfort  and Ex-President Michel Martelly,Olivier Martelly,Patrick Norame and ex-president Jocelerme Privert are all accused allegedly of embezzlement, theft, corruption, fraud, money laundering and misappropriation of funds totaling 2.1 billion dollars.


Omega Staff Writers

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