UWP accepted campaign financing in exchange for diplomatic postings

first_imgLocalNewsPolitics UWP accepted campaign financing in exchange for diplomatic postings by: Dominica Vibes News – June 28, 2017 The Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has been accused of promising to issue diplomatic passports to six foreign investors in exchange for campaign financing for the 2005 and 2009 general elections.That accusation was made by Sam Raphael, a hotel developer, who disclosed on radio on Tuesday 27 June 2017 that he was with some UWP officials when that agreement took place.Raphael, who made that revelation while speaking with talk show host Matthias Peltier Jr., said he is revealing this information “not to attack the Opposition, but to get them to stop and think”.“Sam Raphael is stating he was present when the Opposition party, at the highest level, sold diplomatic passports, well they took the money for diplomatic passports from six individuals, who wired monies to Dominica that funded the UWP campaign in 2005 to the tune of over three million and in the same vein in 2009,” he disclosed.“What do people think? Where do you think they get their pelleau from? Or the Chicken? Or the t-shirts, and so on to run, and all the buses and so on,” he questioned and added whether it was corrupt for the UWP to sell diplomatic passports.Raphael said without campaign finance laws enacted here, he presumes that both parties are “fighting fire with fire”.Although the Dominica government has denied allegations that it engages in the sale of diplomatic passports, Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton has repeatedly said so on local, regional and international media after two foreign nationals, who held Dominica’s diplomatic passports were arrested abroad. In October 2015, former government minister of Nigeria Diezani Alison-Madueke who was serving in an honorary capacity, with no direct remuneration from Dominica, was detained in the UK.In January 2017, Iranian businessman, Alireza Zibahalat Monfared, who was issued a diplomatic passport to help promote Dominica internationally, was accused of helping to embezzle billions of dollars.In both instances, the Dominica government publicly stated that these foreign nationals did not pay to receive these diplomatic passports, but rather it was to facilitate their travel in helping to promote Dominica.“So to go out on the international media and to broadcast, and to raise the issue that there’s an allegation; smoke, maybe there’s fire, that this administration sold diplomatic passports, when you know your party know for a fact [sold diplomatic passports] because the financial records are there,” he added.Further, Raphael said he is not making “wild accusations; I’m telling you things that I know”.Although Mr Linton was not leader of the United Workers Party during the 2005 and 2009 general elections, Raphael said he is aware of this information and should not seek to absolve himself of responsibility because “a party is not one man”.“A party is an organization and if you know there’s a history of corruption in your organization, the first thing to do is to speak to that and to sort of reconcile that in all honesty, before you go attacking the other guy of having dirty laundry, and Matt, this is what I think the hypocrisy of this whole thing [is],” Raphael said.Regarding the Opposition’s claims that the current administration is involved in the sale of diplomatic passports, Raphael said he does not have any first-hand information of this as he does in the UWP’s case.“I was more directly involved in assisting the UWP in their fundraising so I know for facts. What I know now, is merely the smoke that is raised, that you hear every day on your program, so then I say if there is smoke, there must be some fire, but I don’t have firsthand information as I would with respect to the Opposition Party as such,” he explained. “I wasn’t there when Mr Skerrit made any deals, I haven’t seen the documents to show that. I know there are lots of allegations…I don’t have that evidence,” Raphael added.The Dominica government announced policy changes to the process of diplomatic appointments to tighten safeguards and address concerns of citizens and other stakeholders in February 2017.In making the announcement Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he regretted “the unfortunate turn of events” with respect to a few persons holding diplomatic passports, becoming persons of interest to foreign countries and external security organizations.Government also engaged a foreign firm to conduct a professional review of the processes of issuance of diplomatic and official appointments.The policy changes, which took immediate effect in February, was done to “tighten safeguards and to address concerns of citizens and other stakeholders”. Tweet Sharing is caring! 775 Views   17 commentscenter_img Share Share Sharelast_img

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