Opposition Leader and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Lennox Linton, has written to the Financial Secretary (FS) Rosemund Edwards seeking information on the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme CBI funds as controversy over that matter, mounts.
Speaking during his response to the 2019-2020 National Budget presentation of the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Roosevelt Skerrit in parliament last week, Linton told Parliament, that 226 million dollars was presented to the house in the budget, which according to him, is “180.6 million dollars less than the budgeted amount of 406.6 million dollars presented in the original estimates.”
“This is a 44% difference in balance when one takes into consideration that 3,961 persons received Dominican citizenship, who may have paid an average of US $50,000, during a 5-month period…the projected CBI income for 2018-2019 should likely have been some EC$1.291 billion,” Linton said.
He said these figures amount to over a billion dollars that’s unaccounted for.
At a United Workers Party (UWP) press conference Linton said, “Today, (August 7, 2019), as chairman of the Public’s Accounts Committee, I have written to the Financial Secretary asking for the information as follows: the number of citizenships approved for the three-year period [the last three financial years ended June 30, 2019] broken down by year, broken down by economic development fund, real estate, and any other citizenship access option.”
He continued, “The amount of money paid for the approved citizenships, broken down by Economic Development Fund, Real Estate and any other citizenship access option. Also, receipts, disbursements and year end balances for special funds, trust funds, escrow accounts and other funds or accounts operating with money derived from and connected to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).”
Linton said that he does not envisage encountering any difficulties from the FS in obtaining the requested information and has given a time line of August 14, 2019 to get the information so requested.
“The FS is minded to comply with legitimate request for information that has to do with her responsibility for accounting and managing of the funds placed under her trust as a public officer of the State. I sincerely hope that no public officer is of the mind to be obstructionist where the provision of information where this important information is concerned,” he advised. “We have given a timeline of August 14, 2019 to get the requested information.”