PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) – The district attorney in Port-au-Prince opened a preliminary investigation into charges of “usurpation of title/position and conspiracy” that carry a minimum of one year imprisonment, against the wife of the president, First Lady, Sophia Martelly, and his son, Olivier Martelly on Monday.
AlterPresse learned from substitute commissioner Eronce Paul Villard that the complaint filed by lawyer, Newton Saint Juste, was being examined “in form to see if it is correct with regard to the procedures outlined by law,” in such a pursuit.
Saint Juste said he was “confident that the case will proceed and the Government Commissioner who is always present as counsel for society will have the same eagerness as in cases of corruption in the electoral council, the cash welfare system and in Electricite d’Haiti.”
In a letter, dated August 16, 2012, to the head of prosecutions in Port-au-Prince, Jean Renel Senatus, the lawyer requested “public action be put in motion against the perpetrators, co-authors and accomplices of these crimes in accordance with law.” He wrote that “the interference of the first lady and hers on in public administration in order to handle public funds outside the norms governing the public is qualified by Article 217 of the Penal Code or usurpation of title function.”
The Haitian Penal Code requires imprisonment of one to three years without prejudice if anyone is found in violation of this article.
Allegations of Violations of Public Accounting
Newton Saint Juste says the program “Aba Grangou”, managed by First Lady Sophia Martelly, launched on January 24, 2012 that aims to reduce hunger in Haiti by 50% by 2016 and “Foutbol Pou Chanjman”, managed by the president’s son, which aims to build sporting facilities with a budget of $5 million [US] are violations.
With this program, the Government intends to ultimately have a 50% reduction of hunger by 2016 and an eradication of it by 2025. According to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, this project is being achieved by coordinating and implementing international financing targeting the issues of hunger and malnutrition.
MINUSTAH reports that a dozen government ministries are involved in the program, among them, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MAST), the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR).
Foutbol Pou Chanjman
This program oversees the construction of soccer stadiums with facilities such as basketball courts and playgrounds in each of the ten departments of Haiti and manages their maintenance.
According to the Haiti Press Network, the project coordinator told the media of obtaining a budget of $5 million [US] for the project.
The funds for these stadiums come from the PetroCaribe fund which during the emergency law allocated money to build 10 soccer stadiums throughout the country.
VII Usurpation of titles or functions
Art. 217. – Whoever without authority will have interfered in public office civil or military, or has done acts of one of these functions, shall be punished by imprisonment of one to three years without prejudice of the penalty of falsity if the act bears the character of the crime.