Lawyer, David Bruney, has explained his role in the controversy which has arisen over the alleged sale of Dominican diplomatic passports in a documentary aired on an international TV news network, Al Jazeera.
The first 49 minutes of the 53 minute-long documentary was spent exposing alleged corrupt practices by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in relation to the sale of diplomatic passports and in what the presenter described as a dramatic twist to the programme, the last few minutes focused on Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton.
Bruney was featured in the programme, along with the former Dominican prime minister, Oliver ‘O.J.’ Seraphin, allegedly trying to secure campaign funds on behalf of the United Workers Party (UWP) through the sale of diplomatic passports.
Bruney seems to be supporting a statement made by Seraphin in the programme which suggested that the UWP would be prepared to appoint an ambassador based on the offer of a campaign contribution if the party were to win the election.
He was reported as saying that he could speak on behalf of Linton, that Seraphin was a trusted confidant and he was 100% happy with what the former prime minister had said. He also indicated that the leader of the opposition was “comfortable” with him (Bruney).
“The opposition now really requires funding,” he can be heard saying on the programme. “Make no mistake; we are moving along but as in all things, financial contributions are required.”
Seraphin also shared details of how urgently the money was needed; what it would be used for and how it should be distributed. According to the report, he also provided bank accounts for himself and Bruney to which their fees could be sent. However, the report adds, that both Seraphin and Bruney were “keen” to avoid the direct involvement of the opposition leader.
In response, Bruney explained that the comments he made on the programme had to do with his efforts, based on an agreement with Linton, to put together a team of lawyers and others with the expertise to assist in recovering Dominican money which the opposition leader believes is missing from the country, without putting a burden on the state.
He said the idea came up whereby they could approach a highly-skilled attorney, versed in financial matters and with international contacts – the ideal person around whom they could form a team. Bruney said O.J. Seraphin entered the picture when he spoke to O.J. who was a client of his, about the plan and O.J. mentioned that he knew a lawyer in Panama.
“The idea of a Memorandum of Understanding came up, whereby, not for money, not for any benefit to Lennox Linton personally or myself, this document was crafted, no,” Bruney stated.
He read part of the MOU which spoke to the credentials of the individual they were looking for.
“Critical to such appointment it is necessary and imperative that the said be of good and unblemished character as a potential appointee to the diplomatic corps of Dominica, and the essential requirement that such an appointee be capable of satisfying all aspects of a due diligence inquiry,” Bruney stated.
He went on to say that in the first instance, such an agreement would be for a period of 24 months with renewal dependent on the benefits accrued to the people of Dominica from the endeavours and contributions.to the development of the island state.
To emphasize the point that this is not a case of a diplomatic passport for sale, Bruney stated, “Now let me just ask a commonsensical question: who is going to pay money for that? This is the document that would regulate any ambassadorial relationship. Would you pay a million dollars for this?”
“First of all, you have to pass through due diligence. Secondly, the document doesn’t speak to any payment of money,” he contended.
Both Skerrit and Linton have denied the allegations made against them in the Al Jajazeera programme.
Dominica News Online (DNO) is attempting to get a copy of the MOU which will be posted as soon as it becomes available.