Can we expect the truth to be revealed about the use of the millions…


Can we expect the truth to be revealed about the use of the millions extracted from the PetroCaribe Fund ?

According to members of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Committee of the Senate, the report of their inquiry into the shenanigans surrounding the PetroCaribe Fund is ready. As explained, their action aimed at deepening the conclusions of the report previously prepared by the Commission headed by Senator Youri Latortue. However, for unspecified reasons, its publication is delayed for two weeks. Would it be too quick to assume that this delay is yet another strategy to flout public opinion and allow those responsible for squandering the funds – if not embezzling some $3 billion – to get off the hook? As it is, those accused of wrongdoing go freely about their business with complete impunity. Depending on what happens with this investigation, they may be insured that they will never have to account for their crimes. In fact, there are signs indicating that this demoralizing prediction isn’t farfetched.

As is well known, the first Senate investigation into the use of the billions generated from petroleum products imported from Venezuela had identified the corruptors and the corrupted. Mind you, it was Senator Youri Latortue, the current president of the Senate, who then led the Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Nonetheless, he had no power to push for setting in motion the wheels of Justice against those responsible for these flagrant abuses. Very simple, those in the Senate, elected by the people and sworn to defend their interests, had betrayed their oath. They dissociated themselves from the conclusions reached by Latortue and his co-commissioners in the previous report.

What happened was an open secret.

Senior State officials, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, ex-Ministers and others involved in the squandering of the Petro-Caribe Fund had mobilized drastic means to defeat the investigation of the first Latortue Commission. The pro-corruption Senators became accomplices of the criminals. The Haitian people were doubly victimized by their elected representatives. Firstly, hundreds of millions collected from Venezuelan fuel were diverted, depriving the people of resources that were to be used for their wellbeing. Secondly, some of the stolen funds were used to finance the campaign to obstruct the work of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission of the Upper House.

Having observed how Senator Youri Latortue and his co-commissioners were sabotaged in their investigation of the use of funds of the PetroCaribe Fund, the whole country and major world capitals came to realize that Haiti is effectively a hostage of corruption at all levels of public administration. Mean while, great hope is pinned on the new investigative Commission led by Senator Evalière Beauplan. The public expects that it will shed more light on the daring embezzlement of $3 billion from the Fund. But most people fail to understand the determination of the men and women involved in this vast conspiracy. Systematic as they are in carrying out their theft of State funds, they also give themselves all the means necessary to succeed in their policy of thwarting the search for the truth.

Indeed, not unlike the Latortue Commission before the current one led by Evalière Beauplan, the latter finds himself constantly in the eye of a hurricane. He’s going against strong winds, fanned by senior officials who were responsible for disbursing the spoils of the PetroCaribe Fund in such a way to protect themselves against legal actions that they deserve. One way or the other, eventually they will be caught. Once again, the millions stolen from the Haitian people are being used to prevent light from being shed on the truth, which would reveal the role played by various actors in this vast criminal enterprise against the State.

Now that the Beauplan Commission is ready to release the results of its investigation, rumors are circulating giving no hope that we are any closer to the truth than we were after the publication of the report of the Latortue team. Because pro-corruption forces are still at work with their stolen millions. On the one hand, Beau plan is being trashed, accused of so-called financial crimes himself in an obvious campaign to discredit him and the work of his Commission. On the other hand, sacrifices are made to satisfy the demands for remuneration – actually bribes – by individuals responsible to mobilize public action against dishonest civil servants who are already publicly identified.

Those who, enthusiastically, awaited the results of the investigation, especially in the media, were greeted by the announcement that they must wait another fortnight. The public must be satisfied with quips from the Senators who emphasized their impartiality and professionalism in doing their work, how they sidestepped politics in handling various cases.

Meanwhile, a special session is announced for November 15, when copies of the report will be distributed to Senators. As for the general public, they can mull over the following statement from the investigative Senators: “All the people identified in the Latortue report are still maintained,” while indicating that others have been added. There’s also the request made by Senator Antonio Cheramy (Don Kato) for the arrest of “all the criminals.”

Such scraps of information are thrown like crumbs, probably to dull the curiosity of the journalists. Hopefully, on November 15 we’ll learn more about the investigation. But Senator Beauplan felt it important to reassure all by saying: “No one can equate our work with a class or an ideology. It’s a professional document.‘’

Needless to say, the whole country is waiting for this document to establish responsibility for all involved in the squandering of the Petro Caribe Fund. Almost all the perpetrators of this crime are known.

Thus, all are waiting with baited breath, hoping that the long-awaited report will provide the courts with the necessary leads to launch proceedings against senior State officials.

Considering that the current president of the country is under indictment for money laundering, one wonders what will happen in the end.

Will Haitian justice be free to take appropriate action against those who stole millions from the PetroCaribe Fund? Notwithstanding the posturing, the insults, the media campaign against the investigation, or the fabulous sums spent to stifle the truth, if the criminals are identified beyond any doubt, Evalière Beauplan and his fellow commissioners will have done a job worthy of the nation.

Cet article est publié en P. 11 de l’édition hebdomadaire sur support papier.