Haiti's president-elect rejects money laundering charges, vows to seek reparations

Published on by Joe Colas (author)

President-elect Jovenel Moise (left), Outgoing interim president Jocelerme Privert (right) (photo: )
President-elect Jovenel Moise (left), Outgoing interim president Jocelerme Privert (right)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN)-- Haiti's president-elect categorically rejected on Thursday money laundering charges he said are politically motivated and promised to seek reparations for damage caused to his reputation as he prepares to lead the impoverished Caribbean country.

Jovenel Moise said the accusations, brought by a government-appointed Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF), were baseless and he announced that his lawyers and he were working to make sure that justice is made and that reparations are obtained from those who tried to tarnish his reputation.

"I can tell you that the whole thing is baseless, false," Moise told HCNN in an interview on Thursday. "As you can see they have falsified documents regarding an account in gourde (the Haitian currency), they say it was in dollars," denounced Moise who was elected president on January 3.

UCREF based its accusations on premises that Moise, as an entrepreneur, had an account in dollars at the National Credit Bank (BNC) in which he had 5 million.

 UCREF agents wrote a report saying that Moise, who is expected to take office on Feb. 7, was handling funds which were not justified by his business activities, suggesting that the latter could be involved in money laundering.

However, in a certificate delivered to Jovenel Moise on January10, BNC confirmed that the account was in haitian gourde not in dollars, meaning the 5 million mentioned were 5 million gourdes (about $73,000) and not 5 million dollars.

"I categorically reject all the allegations that are brought by UCREF and that are based on false premises," stated Moise calling on relevant judicial authorities to assume their responsibility.

In the meantime, 4 senators fiercely opposed to the president-elect wrote to the president of the senate to ask him to refrain from allowing Moise to take the constitutional oath of office before the (legislative) National Assembly until judicial authorities come to a conclusion on charges brought against the entrepreneur turned politician.

"We believe it is a prerequisite that Jovenel Moise is cleared by judicial authorities before he can come before us to be sworn in," said Evalière Beauplan, one of the four senators who sent the letter to the senate board.

"We cannot allow someone who is elected president to take office without prior resolution of his money laundering case," Beauplan explained.  

Jovenel Moise, who was picked by former president Michel Martelly to be his TET Kale party's candidate, said the accusations were politically motivated.  

"It is a political maneuver," he said. "It is a form of blackmail as we are about to form the government. Since they claimed I did not win the election, which they know wasn't true, now they are fighting to make sure they still control the power," Moise told HCNN.

Moise explained that he is a hard-working entrepreneur and that all the business activities he has undertaken were possible thanks to funds borrowed from banks over the past 20 years.

"I started from scratch but I have always acted with honesty and integrity," he said.

" I will not allow anybody to tarnish my reputation. My lawyers and I are actually working to make sure proper reparations are obtained," said Moise stating that he was confident that justice will be made.


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