Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, has suggested that the government is involved in a cover-up in a matter involving Iranian national and ex-diplomat of Dominica, Ali Reza Ziba Halat Monfared who was arrested on allegations of being involved in his country biggest-ever corruption scandal.
Speaking on The Hot Seat on Q95 on Thursday morning, he said the international community needs to get involved in the matter “right now” and the government must resign.
“I am suggesting to you Matt that this government is involved in an elaborate cover-up on the behalf of Ali Reza Monfared and the international community needs to get involved in this right now,” he said, speaking to host Matt Peltier. “Because the evidence that they’re presenting is suggesting that very clearly that the authorities, the Iranian authorities, had made their interest in Monfared known to the government of Dominica prior to January 20, 2016.”
According to Linton, Monfared lived in Dominica until September 2016, months after the January 20, 2016 date on which the government said his diplomatic passport was revoked.
After news broke of Monfared’s arrest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on his status saying that he became a citizen of Dominica, and eventually a diplomat, following a comprehensive due diligence investigation.
But Linton said there is evidence from that Ministry which shows that the government of Dominica refused to cooperate with the government of Iran on the extradition of Monfared to face trial. He did not elaborate on the evidence.
“The evidence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests the government was harboring and protecting a fugitive from justice in Dominica and for that reason alone they must resign and they must resign now,” he claimed, adding the whole situation is “getting ridiculous.”
Linton added, “The evidence we have tells us very clearly that Iran was unsuccessful in its approaches to the government of Dominica to get this Iranian national that they had an interest in (him being) moved out of Dominica so he could face the music in Iran. So the Iranians got in touch with the Cubans and asked the Cubans whether they could exercise any influence in the matter. I heard that story sometime last year in 2016 while Monfared was living here. I got to find out that the Iranian government had an interest in him through sources in Havana.”
He went on to say that the government, in its release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is confirming that it knew authorities had an interest in him before January 20, 2016.
“However Monfared was able to stay in Dominica until September of 2016 and then leave Dominica for hiding in some other location in the Caribbean with the collusion and collaboration of the government,” he stated.
Linton noted that the government is now “doubling down to concoct lies” to defend Monfared and make up a story “as if it was not that bad.”
“No, it is very bad and the government is involved in something that is very dangerous and the people of Dominica must now stand up …” he said, adding that Dominicans must be more responsible than the government is showing to be in the face of requests in resolving international crimes.
“People of Dominica, listen to me carefully this morning,” he noted. “It is time for you to clearly say to this government, they must demit office… I am ashamed and I wish our country ends this foolishness right now. I wish our country ends the outrage of a government right now.”