It’s been more than two months that the Brandt case broke out exposing the existence of a network of kidnappers with connections to the National Palace
It’s been more than two months that the Brandt case broke out exposing the existence of a network of kidnappers with connections to the National Palace, the huge outcry triggered by this mega scandal is followed by a silence of the grave.
The first confession by this businessman from one of the richest families in the country as well as electronically intercepted secrets have revealed that Clifford Brandt has partners in high places in the state apparatus facilitating the smooth running of his criminal activities. With the arrest of the head of security at the National Palace and the role allegedly attributed to the eldest son of the presidential family in the network, in addition to close relationship that are said to exists between the main accused and the first lady, Michel Martelly and his government moved quickly to put the judiciary and the police in “defense” mode. Insofar as team Martelly is known to manipulate the judicial system and those responsible for investigating sensitive issues and scandals besmirching the reputation of the country’s policymakers, at the highest level, no hope is left that that this case will not be hushed up indefinitely.
In fact, after seeing President Martelly in action during his first nineteen months in office, there is no reason to believe that light will be shed on that case. Indeed, it may very well be that the silence surrounding the investigation of the Brandt case is part of The Martelly-Lamothe government’s policy to make sure the orientation of the investigation goes in the directionof its interests, those of its family as well as those of businessmen believed intimately involved in the network to which belongs the owner of the Mazda dealership in Haiti.
In this sense, it’s very likely that the judicial authorities are expecting that other events attract the attention of public before setting the powerful businessman free from all charges; an examining magistrate will be hand-picked to deliver his verdict on the fly. This would be a matter of course, because the famous criminal cases that have dominated the headlines during this administration have all been treated with leniency by the trial judges chosen carefully for this purpose by the Minister of Justice, on the order of the president.
Notwithstanding the promises he made — for external consumption, of course —, proclaiming his desire to promote the independence of the judiciary and to work for the implementation of the rule of law, Michel Martelly and the management team are considered experts in flouting the justice system, and in breaking social harmony, in addition to compromising political decisions taken in violation of the Constitution or outside the law. Mr. Martelly’s excesses in this area were evident immediately after his swearing with the Dorfeuille case. Ex-municipal police captain of Gonaives, Ernst Bouquet Dorfeuil le was ordered imprisoned at the Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince on 8 December 2008, by Jean Manes Louis, the then Government Prosecutor. This decision came about after three successive interrogation sessions, as part of the investigation into the abduction and execution of his concubine, Monique Pierre. The record of this senior officer of the National Police was transferred to the examining magistrate under three counts: “kidnapping, murder and conspiracy.” Because, even though Mr. Dorfeuil le protested his innocence to this crime, serious evidence were retained against him to the point of wearing the authorities to suspect that he knew at least the identity of the killers of his wife. However, some five weeks after the inauguration of President Martelly, Judge Gabrielle Domingo issued an order in his favor. Thus exonerated, he has since resumed his duties within the Haitian Police, once again quietly. The dismissal of the case against Dorfeuille resulted from the promise made by his friend Michel Martelly during the latter’s election campaign. Over the months of his young administration, President Martelly would stab the justice system in the back.
Among the most sensational cases include that of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which had organized the last presidential election having proclaimed Michel Martelly President of Haiti. Accused of corruption, Gayot Dorçainvil, the former president of the institution, and the other members of the electoral body were hit with a lawsuit. The members of this institution were indeed charged with taking bribes in exchange of verdicts in favor of candidates, including Martelly himself, who did not meet the necessary qualifications to enter the race. It’s unclear what action has been taken in respect to this complaint against the CEP presided by Gayot Dorçainvil. On the list of Martelly’drifts also appears the Valentin affair. The case of the “adviser” of the Head of State was also referred to the examining judge by the Government Prosecutor of Croix des Bouquets, for the murder of Octanol Déris -saint, after examination of the accused and witnesses. Calixte Valentin was accused of shooting “in cold blood” in broad daylight, in mid-May of this year, Fond Parisien (north-east of the capital), tradesman, following an altercation the nature of which has never been explained. After five months of “in detention,” which looked more like a holiday period for Mr. Valentin, the adviser of President Martelly has recently been set free. This decision in his behalf was made by Judge Fermond Judes-Paulun recently appointed to this position by Minister of Justice Jean Renel Sanon. He had the specific mission to “liberate” Calixte Valentin. Today, the family, relatives and friends of the victim are still seeking justice while Octanol Déris -saint’s assassin enjoy his freedom, under the protection of President Martelly, who was sworn to respect the laws and the Constitution of the country as well as to enforce them.
Another case of horrific and spectacular murder committed under Martelly worth reporting is that of the chief accountant of the Minister of the Interior. Manès Monchéry, 54, his wife, née Carline William, 48, and their two children,Olivier, 18 years, and Sanika, 12, were the victims of a heinous crime, September 27. The burned corpses of the victims were found in the family residence at Thomassin 38. Only the couple’s eldest daughter, Cindy, 25, escaped the massacre. Sources close to the Monchéry family explain that her life was spared because she is a nurse and had been retained to work. No investigation was ordered by the government, not even a statement has been issued regarding this crime against a superior official of the Interior Ministry and his family.
We will not dwell here on all the abuses committed by the Martelly Government against the Justice system. But we must not keep quiet about the recent robbery perpetrated against the local of the Electoral Council during which more than 572 laptops were stolen. It’s well known that these devices contain valuable information on the elections; no less than Michel Martelly seeks to put in place a custom-made electoral institution in order to better manipulate the election results. We must then ask who benefits from this latest crime. However, no result is given on the investigation announced on the theft of these computers; in fact it seems that it’s been postponed indefinitely. Obviously, the inquiry of the Brandt case and the investigation announced to identify all the members of this criminal network follows the model of previous cases handled by the National Palace under the presidency of Michel Martelly. This raises concerns –and for good reason — that justice will be once more flouted, and that the expectations of the Haitian citizens for justice will remain unfulfilled.
Suffice to say, if the people of Haiti awaits judicial reform and the implementation of the rule of law under the Martelly leadership, though committed by candidate Martelly, they had better look for answers elsewhere.
Haïti-Observateur 26 decembre 2012 – 2 janvier 2013 11
in the best tradition of team
the Brandt case could lead to
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