PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – President-elect Jovenel Moise’s relationship with wealthy businessman Marc Antoine Acra is raising questions in Haiti because Mr. Acra is a prime suspect in a drug-trafficking case sparked by the 2015 seizure of 82 kilos of cocaine, 10 kilos of heroine; the largest haul ever by the Haitian National Police (PNH).
On Tuesday, January 17, the president-elect was questioned about his ties to Mr. Acra during a press conference marking his return to Haiti from a “private visit” to the Dominican Republic. Acra was not by the president-elect’s side during the presser but was a part of the delegation to the D.R., which in recent years has become the top route for narcotics trafficking.
President-elect Moise did not respond kindly to the questions by journalists, declaring that as President of the Republic he has the right to meet with any citizen he pleases. Mr. Moise showed a “hostility” and “arrogance” not before seen during the campaign, chimed Zenith FM political commentator Denel Sainton.
Other political actors, including civil society workers, such as the Director of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), Pierre Esperance, have used the closeness of the president-elect’s relationship with a suspected narcotics trafficker, under investigation, to foreshadow an incoming administration that would not keep uphold the country to the rule of law and may interfere with the judiciary.
The questions surrounding Mr. Moise and Mr. Acra come days after the Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF) and the Unit Combating Corruption (ULCC) had referred four reports to the district prosecutor in Port-au-Prince regarding Jovenel Moise and possibly money laundering connected to Acra’s auto dealership business.
The president-elect’s transition team, which did not inform the Haitian press of the trip to the Dominican Republic beforehand, lauded Marc Antoine Acra’s business acumen and said he was serving in a consultative role for crafting economic and trade policy for the upcoming administration.