By CHRISTOPHER GILLETTE – Associated Press – Thursday, August 29, 2019
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti’s president says he will serve out his term despite rising violence, poor economic performance and months of protests over unresolved allegations of corruption in his predecessor’s administration.
(HT: Allegations of corruption in predecessor’s administration. Blame the previous administrations, not Jovenel Moise, especially that of Privert.)
President Jovenel Moise pledged in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday to respect the findings of a commission investigating the corruption allegations.
“It takes a lot of courage to stay in power, but I am pledging to you to have the courage to continue moving forward,” Moise said, saying he would resist pressure to resign.
Moise was named in two reports resulting from a corruption investigation by judicial authorities into the spending of funds from Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan government program that provided subsidized oil to Caribbean nations. Protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets in recent months in demonstrations prompted by the findings of widespread fraud in government contracts awarded to contractors to build roads, buildings and administer social programs.
(HT. Moise had 2 contracts, totaling about $1,670,000 for road construction. He completed 85% of the work and collected 34% of the funds, according to the audit. Where’s the crime?)
The audits revealed millions of dollars of aid money siphoned off by contractors for shoddy and substandard work, like an overpass built over busy Delmas avenue that cost more than $30 million, but should have cost around $2 million.
(HT: Come on guys! How would you build this overpass for $2,000,000??!)
Once revealed, the extent of the corruption sparked widespread protests and street violence, and calls for Moise to step down.
“Of course we must know the truth and the truth about this investigation must be released. That is very important. The investigation must reveal the truth so that justice can be served and the guilty jailed. Those who misspent the government’s money, they should be arrested and locked up,” Moise said Wednesday.
The protests, economic downturn and increasing insecurity and gang-related crime have made Moise’s political future uncertain despite his determination to stay in power.
(HT: The economic situation is largely due to Parliament blocking creation off a new government, required to release funds.)
Moise said he was not concerned about more allegations of his involvement in potentially improper contracting, saying: “The judicial audit does not involve the executive branch. This is a concern of the judicial branch.”
The president insisted that Haiti must move beyond the crisis and let the judicial process play out.
“We must go beyond talking about the survival of the government, because political stability in Haiti is the most important thing for us,” he said. “If the opposition wants power they must participate in democratic elections and win the vote of the people.”
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