Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, is demanding a police investigation into the alleged sale of Dominica’s diplomatic passports as reported in a documentary produced by an international TV news network.
The first part of the documentary, called Diplomats for Sale which names Dominica as one of the countries involved in that practice of selling immunity to foreigners, aired on Qatar-owned Al Jazeera, earlier this week.
Part of the documentary focused on former Dominican diplomat, Alireza Monfared, who was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison in Iran for defrauding the Iranian government. He now owes US$1.3 billion to the state of Iran that Iran claims he stole from them.
Linton was also mentioned in that report in relation to allegations that his lawyer, David Bruney, spoke on his behalf to receive campaign funds in exchange for a diplomatic passport. However, Both Linton and Bruney have denied those allegations.
The Opposition Leader said that if his party wins, it will be the first government in the history of the Caribbean, “within the first 100 days of our administration,” to enact in parliament, an act to prevent the sale of diplomatic immunity.
“The police need to get involved, and I am calling on Commissioner of Police Daniel Carbon this evening, to launch an immediate investigation…,” he said while speaking to party supporters at a meeting at Trafalgar on Wednesday.
He stated that Monfared gave a number of gifts including gold bars, watches each worth over US$15,000, allegedly to DLP government ministers and officials.
“You heard about US$100,000 for spending money in China, but it is now being established that this money that Monfared was using is part of the $1.3 billion that he stole from Iran,” Linton remarked.
He added, “We call again on Mr. Carbon this evening, to ask some questions and to investigate what crimes were committed.”
Linton also called on the President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin for a full-scale commission of enquiry.
However, the Dominica Labour is insisting that tables have turned on the United Workers Party (UWP) after the airing of the Al Jazeera documentary.
Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie has said at a zonal meeting in Warner that tables have turned on the United Workers Party (UWP) in what he described as “their failed attempt of writing false information about the Dominica Labour Party (DLP)over the years to discredit the country in the eyes of the international community.”
Austrie said the UWP were the ones who started working with Al Jazeera and have colluded with a bunch of international criminals which has brought both his party and country in disrepute adding that it has been ten years since the UWP has been falsely attacking Dominica’s prime minister and accusing him of all sorts of immoral and criminal activities.
“Lennox Linton went to the United States and told the American government that Roosevelt Skerrit is guilty of selling passports to criminals hoping that the United States would issue an embargo on this country [that] would bring our economy to its knees,” he claimed.
The Deputy Prime Minister maintained that the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program is maybe Dominica’s only source of income as other sectors such as agriculture is not sufficient enough to sustain the county’s economy.
He said it is because of the funds gained from the CBI Program that the government has been able to continue to develop the country and create a new economy through new hotels and other businesses.
The Al Jazeera programme featured Manoj Bhullar, who ran the Malaysian-based company of Dominican diplomat Ali Reza Monfared, My Dominica Trade House. He confirmed that Monfared received a diplomatic passport from Dominica, something that the prime minister himself had previously revealed.
Bhullar also said that Monfared provided expensive gifts, including watches, jewellery and gold bars to government ministers and officials whom he had invited to Malaysia.
Prime Minister Skerrit, like his deputy, has blamed Linton for instigating the Al Jazeera documentary. However, he has not commented publicly on the statements made by Manoj Bhullar in the programme.