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Friday, March 7, 2008

Belize Former Minister Received Money from Chavez

Along came Belize, it could be a new corruption scandal to Chavez Regime. This nation from Center America (former British colony) is now pointing its attention to Chavez. Next is a part of today's Editorial Column from Belize newspaper Amandala:

The shinning revelation on Thursday evening, March 6, by former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Said Musa, that his government had secretly and illegally diverted twenty million dollars in grant funds from Venezuela to pay the Universal Health Services (UHS) debt at the Belize Bank, confirms the thesis first promulgated by this newspaper in its April 11, 2004 edition – the Musa PUP government was handling public funds as if these funds were private accounts.

The implications of the revelation for the Attorney General in Mr. Musa’s administration at the time of the secret and illegal diversion of public funds, Hon. Francis Fonseca, who is presently campaigning for leadership of the PUP, are clear. The thrust of his campaign so far has been loyalty to the party. Now, if not before, it is clear that the PUP had become a party which behaved in a lawless manner at the very highest levels, those levels where the Attorney General is, constitutionally, the number one guardian, interpreter and enforcer of the laws of this Belizean nation...

...
In a sense, Mr. Musa is throwing himself upon the mercy of the new Prime Minister, Hon. Dean O. Barrow. The diversion of those Venezuelan funds took place in late December of 2007 or early January of 2008. The Venezuelans inquired about the funds in a letter the day after February 7, 2008 general elections threw the Musa government out of power. The new UDP government publicized the existence of the letter on Friday, February 22, and Mr. Musa assiduously avoided the media (and a public response) until Wednesday, March 5, when he told the nation that he had been to see Mr. Barrow to explain what had been done with the twenty million.
Full Editorial

Thanks god there is the power of journalism.

Next is an article from February 29th, this year, by the same newspaper:

Still no answers on Venezuela money

It has been six days since the Government of Belize issued a press statement indicating that the Government of Venezuela had written, asking for an accounting on a US$20 million grant under an agreement with the former Said Musa administration.
At press time, we have still not gotten to speak with Mr. Musa, whom we have been trying to contact for six days since the news came out regarding the allegations of US$10 million unaccounted for from the Venezuelan money.
We have been calling his law firm since Friday, and while we were informed yesterday that our message was delivered to him, we have not received a reply from the former Prime Minister.
Similarly, we have been unable to speak with the Venezuelan Ambassador, Omar Valdiviezo. When we called him earlier this week, Embassy staff told us he was unavailable, though in office, but he subsequently left the country.
The only response we have to date to the Government release comes from the Opposition PUP, though it took the secretariat 4 days to respond. Notably, that release did not address the discrepancy between the amount GOB had said it would get from Venezuela, and the amount quoted by the Venezuelans.
In a press release issued February 26, 2008, the Opposition PUP simply reiterates what we already know from official sources: that on December 28, 2007, US$10 million was transferred to Government’s Central Bank account, for housing programs and the Marion Jones Stadium.
Even though it did not flatly reject the suggestion that US$10 million is “missing” from the Venezuela money, the PUP release accused the current administration of “playing political games” with Belize’s bilateral relationship with Venezuela, but does not explain what constitutes the alleged game playing.
The 4-paragraph press release ignores the substantive issue - that is, the call from the Venezuelan bank to give account of US$20 million gifted to the Government, under the Said Musa administration, in the weeks leading up to the elections.
On Monday, the Government had said that the Ministry of Finance had requested Venezuela to clarify the letter.
Reports to our newspaper indicate that a former member of government has flown off to Venezuela today.
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