AP

Haiti reveals ‘colossal loss’ of $4M worth of corruption

Aug 26, 2022, 5:06 PM | Updated: 6:00 pm

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A soccer field that was paid for but never built. A school that diverted resources from its students. A mayor who ran city hall out of his mother’s home and avoided property taxes.

Officials say these and dozens of other alleged acts of corruption cost Haiti’s government a “colossal loss” of some 500 million gourdes ($4 million) at a time when state infrastructure is collapsing amid political instability and deepening poverty.

The allegations were released Thursday by Haiti’s antigovernment corruption unit, whose general director, Hans Joseph, pledged to go after those who “torpedo the public treasury and asphyxiate the country’s economic and social development efforts.”

He called on Haiti’s judicial officials to act on his agency’s findings.

Jacques Lafontant, government commissioner for the capital of Port-au-Prince, told The Associated Press on Friday that he would order all those named in the report to appear before a judge.

“The process will start without any delay,” he said.

The 30-page report released to the public summarizes lengthy investigations launched by Joseph’s agency and provides a window into rampant corruption across Haiti, where more than 60% of its more than 11 million people struggle to survive on about $2 a day.

The agency pursued 10 unrelated investigations, finding alleged corruption in places including two schools, three mayors’ offices and three government agencies.

It accused the general director of Haiti’s National Lottery of diverting more than 41 million Haitian gourdes ($300,000) with help from her brother — a legal professional — and of not charging companies operating rights, resulting in a shortfall of 269 million gourdes (more than $2 million) to the public treasury.

In addition, it found irregularities with debit cards that Haiti’s National Police issued to employees, noting that benefits illegally given to those who were fired or retired resulted in a loss of more than 18.2 million gourdes ($140,000) in the span of just three months.

It also accused the former mayor of the southern coastal town of Petit-Goave of diverting nearly 12.8 million gourdes (more than $98,000) slated for several projects.

The former official also allegedly set up city hall in his mother’s home, “putting himself in a situation where it was necessary to choose between protecting the interests of the mayor’s office or those of his mother,” the report said. It accused him of not paying taxes on the property and said money was missing from the employee payroll.

A former mayor of the north coastal town of Anse-Rouge was accused of creating more than two dozen fictional employees whose checks were going to the city’s accountant. In addition, the report said there was no evidence of five purported sanitation projects on which 835,000 gourdes ($6,400) was spent and no proof that 595,000 gourdes ($4,500) offered by the international aid group Oxfam to buy fuel was used for that purpose.

Also in the north, a former mayor of Saint-Raphael was accused of paying a company more than 2 million gourdes ($15,000) for a soccer field and reading center that were never built. The anti-corruption agency said it tried to track down the company’s officials but said the physical address provided did not exist.

The agency accused the former director of a school in Maissade in central Haiti of diverting more than 2 million gourdes ($15,000), alleging he had only 735 students instead of the 1,004 registered.

Joseph said that despite Haiti’s “major structural differences,” he hoped the government could recover its assets and fully punish those whom he called “enemies of the republic.”

___

Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

17 hours ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

1 day ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

1 day ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

2 days ago

Biden to require more gun dealers to run background checks....

Associated Press

Biden administration will require thousands more gun dealers to run background checks on buyers

New Biden rule to require thousands more firearms dealers across the United States will have to run background checks on buyers.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Haiti reveals ‘colossal loss’ of $4M worth of corruption