The United States has frozen the assets of a Dominican Senator for Corruption in Haiti

Posted by Lenouvelliste on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Under: Corruptions
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The US administration has imposed heavy penalties on Tuesday June 12, 2018 on Dominican Senator and businessman Félix Ramon Bautista Rosario, accused of having participated in acts of corruption in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010, announced the Miami Herald. Within a day, the senator has seen all his assets in the United States frozen, his US visa and those of his family members canceled and US citizens are now prohibited from doing business with the five companies owned or controlled by Bautista.

Very influential in the Dominican Republic, both politically and economically, Senator Felix Bautista, current secretary of the ruling party of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), and custodian of a fortune of 40 billion Dominican pesos (over 900 million US dollars), has just been sanctioned by the Bureau of the Control of Foreign Assets (FOCA, in English) of the US Treasury Department and the State Department.

Senator Bautista is said to have committed significant corruption in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and has been publicly accused of money laundering and embezzlement. "Senator Bautista has used his position to make corruption, including by taking advantage of humanitarian efforts related to the reconstruction of Haiti [...]," said Sigal Mandelker, Under-Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence emphasizing that the sanctions intervene within the framework of the Magnitsky law adopted by the American Congress in 2012.

Senator Evalière Beauplan, in charge of the commission to deepen the investigation into the use of the PetroCaribe fund, is not surprised by the decision of the American authorities concerning the powerful businessman Félix Bautista. The North West Senator notes that the Americans need to intervene to bring justice to the people of Haiti.

Without concealing having shared all the information he has with the international community, Evalière Beauplan points out that the Americans intervene from the investigation file led by Yuri Latortue and him.

After the 2010 earthquake, Bautista companies received over 200 million US dollars in controversial, untendered contracts from the Haitian government to rebuild ministries, destroyed government buildings and build social housing. The Miami Herald points out that very few of these projects have been executed, the poor quality of construction work and the abandonment of building sites by Dominican firms.
The OFAC therefore prohibits American natural and legal persons from carrying out financial and commercial transactions with Bautista Rosario and with the five companies to which he is linked to: Constructora Hadom SA, Soluciones Eléctricas y Mecánicas Hadom SRL, Seymeh Ingeniería SRL, Inmobiliaria Rofi SA and Constructora Rofi SA.

The Haitian government paid to one of these construction companies, Constructora Hadom SA, $ 10 million of a $ 14.7 million contract to build the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building that collapsed during the earthquake. The building was never built, reports the Miami Herald.

This contract and several other irregularly obtained by the firms of the Dominican senator are the subject of the investigation of the PetroCaribe fund initiated at the instigation of the Ethics and Anticorruption Committee of the Senate of the Republic of Haiti. To this end, Senator Evalière Beauplan is scandalized that $ 10 million were paid to the firm of Bautista who did nothing.

He poked President Jovenel Moïse and some of his immediate collaborators. "When we talk about PetroCaribe, President Jovenel Moïse has explanations to give because he has two companies involved in PetroCaribe. One in a folder of lampposts, the other in the construction of a dirt road for 35 million gourdes during the election campaign. He will never agree to justice being done because he is concerned. The team involved in PetroCaribe is around him, "said Senator Evalière Beauplan, saying the Americans are using the Baustita file to get to President Jovenel Moïse whose clumsiness on the diplomatic level has lost three partners in a tour in Haiti: the United States, China and Venezuela.

Moreover, in March 2015, Senator Félix Bautista received a "dismissal" order from the Supreme Court of Justice of his country pronounced in his favor following accusations of corruption and money laundering that weighed on him. According to the conclusion of the highest court of the Dominican Republic at the time, the prosecution failed to prove the commission of misappropriation or misappropriation of public funds against Senator Félix Bautista, nor to prove that he set up a business network for illicit enrichment.

The presidential candidate for the inauguration of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Francisco Dominguez Brito, has called for the dismissal of Felix Bautista as secretary of his party shortly after the release of the US Embassy in Santo Domingo announcing the cancellation of the visa of the senator of San Juan de la Maguana in addition to that of his wife and his 5 children, still minors.

"How can a person involved in so many scandals and, in this case, pursued internationally, with freezing of funds and other measures, be responsible for the management of all the political structures within our party? Enough is enough, there must be consequences [...] ", declared, indignant, Dominguez Brito, candidate for the presidency.

In interviews given to Dominican newspapers, Bautista has always denied irregularities in obtaining contracts, claiming that they were legally awarded to these companies. According to the Treasury Department, Bautista allegedly distributed bribes and used its relations as a senator to win public contracts awarded as part of the reconstruction of Haiti.

The name Félix Bautista has extended the long list of 33 people and companies sanctioned by OFAC, since January 2017, for violation of human rights and corruption in at least 10 countries.

In : Corruptions