PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Undue pressure has been placed on Judge Brédy Fabien to drop charges of money-laundering against President-elect Jovenel Moise after a surprise visit, Wednesday, by the president-elect and a “press conference”, in which no questions were taken, that immediately followed.
Mr. Moïse’s visit to the Court of First Instance was spectacular and impromptu. He was accompanied by a large entourage of security forces, press cameras, supporters and his lawyers. The judge, who was forwarded the criminal complaint on January 13 by prosecutors following four investigative reports they received from the Central Unit for Financial Intelligence (UCREF) and the Unit Combating Corruption (ULCC), had not summoned Moïse’s presence; this much was even admitted by the president-elect.
Cameras and reporters were not allowed into Judge Fabien’s office during the talks with Moïse and his lawyers. The audience took a little more than four hours. Afterwards, the president-elect held a press conference where he told the nation the money-laundering charges were unfounded and characterized the criminal pursuit as political persecution.
However, Mr. Moïse said his visit was to show respect to the cause of justice. He said he was there to answer the questions of the judge, again, not yet called to, and then said he aspires to support the nation’s institutions, although his actions show little regard for the independence of the judiciary.
Furthermore, Mr. Moïse’s surrogates spent most of the past weeks lambasting UCREF, the ULCC, the Goverment Commissioner’s office and other entities for their work, which was spurred by two separate referrals in 2013 from the National Credit Bank (BNC), Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) and Haiti’s internal revenue service, the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI).
It must be said that the president-elect’s appearance follows days of headlines regarding a “private visit” to the Dominican Republic where he had in his delegation indicted drug-trafficker, Marc Antoine Acra, whose boat was seized, found carrying 82 kilos of cocaine, 10 kilos of heroine in the summer of 2015. This is also after headlines surrounding Senator-elect Guy Philippe, who arrested and extradited to the United State on January 5, 2017 for drug-trafficking and money-laundering. Mr. Moise and Philippe are close allies who campaigned arm-in-arm throughout 2015 and 2016.
In August of 2013, former President Michel Martelly, who hand-picked Mr. Moise to succeed him, and members of his administration were accused of having caused the death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph. Judge Joseph was handling a case of financial crimes and corruption that involved the Head of State and members of his family. Martelly visited the judge at his office and according to second-hand accounts – directly from the judge – his honor was assaulted by Martelly. The judge died of cardiac arrest less than 24 hours later.