Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, has challenged Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to come clean about his relationship with Chinese billionaire, Ng Lap Seng, who was recently arrested in New York in a UN bribery scandal.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Linton said the Dominican leader owes it to the people to speak out on the matter.
“If diplomats of Caribbean countries are being jailed in the US for involvement with Ng Lap Seng’s so called wide ranging corruption schemes, Mr. Skerrit owes it to the people of Dominica to come clean and set the record straight without fear of contradiction from anybody anywhere in the world that he has nothing to do with any corruption scheme operated by Seng, which is likely to land him in jail in the US as John Ashe is in jail, as Francis Lorenzo is in jail, as Seng himself is in jail for violating US law on corruption, racketeering, money laundering etc… Linton said.
Seng was arrested about two weeks ago and a federal prosecutor has charged him with playing a central role in a $1.3 million bribery scheme to corrupt a former president of the United Nations General Assembly. Former Antiguan diplomat, John Ashe, and Francis Lorenzo, a diplomat from the Dominican Republic, were also ensnared in the matter.
The Opposition Leader said if Skerrit chooses, he may want to consider waiving his immunities to clear his name.
“If it is sufficiently important to him, he may want to consider waiving whatever immunities that he may have so that the investigators can clear his name as a fitting, proper person to be leading Dominica in this time of very serious national reconstruction,” he stated. “This is a time in which we have to face the global community and make a success of assembling $1.3 billion we need …it is not going to materialize in the volumes that we would like to see if there are question marks about our leadership, and clouds hanging over the head of our leadership.”
Linton is also calling on the Dominican populace to “demand” that Skerrit comes clean and is also questioning whether there are any risks for the country as it seeks to raise the over $1.3 billion needed to put the country back on its feet.
The Opposition Leader, in addition, pointed out that on the 25th August 2015, two days before the Tropical Storm Erika, Skerrit was in Macau attending a meeting in the US South, South Conference at which the three men were in attendance.
What’s more, he revealed, was that the Prime Minister met and was seen holding hands in the cutting of a cake in a function organized or sponsored by Seng’s Foundation.
Linton also claimed that a deal was signed by Skerrit with Seng during that time and a representative of the South South Conference for the establishment of a South South transfer center for the Caribbean and Latin America to be located in Dominica.
Moreover, the Opposition Leader pointed out that the Prime Minister was also on record in a commercial court of the BVI in July of 2009 establishing a relationship with Seng.
“To the extent that at the time he was willing to ask Mr. Woo [Seng] US$20 million that would be used to replace the $20 million that Mr. Skerrit claimed in the BVI court, Dominicans feared had been swindled from Chinese Investor Mr. Phillip Cheng,” Linton said.