The response of Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, to allegations that the United Workers Party (UWP) allegedly sold diplomatic passports in the past was described as ‘revealing’ by Senior Counsel, Tony Astaphan.
Linton has asked for evidence to substantiate the claim, which was made by hotelier, Sam Raphael, but according to Astaphan, no evidence was ever produced when the government was accused of selling diplomatic passports by the UWP.
“I find that a very revealing statement because he is prepared to challenge an eye witness to produce documentary evidence. Linton, who is not and have never been an eyewitness to any of the alleged transactions he’s been referring to,” Astaphan told state-owned DBS Radio.
The UWP has long accused the government of selling diplomatic passport, with Linton saying recently that CBS 60 Minutes has uncovered evidence of such transactions.
The government has denied the allegations and the matter took another turn when Raphael dropped a bombshell, saying he was present when the UWP sold diplomatic passports in 2005 and 2009.
“The opposition party, Sam Raphael is stating, he was present when the opposition party, at the highest level sold diplomatic passports,” he stated.
According to Raphael, the party took money for the passports from six individuals who wired it to Dominica to fund the UWP campaign in 2005 to the tune of $3-million, “and in the same vein in 2009.”
But Linton shot back and said his own investigations revealed Raphael’s allegetions were wrong and he challenged Raphael to produce evidence to back up his claim. He did say that in 2005, and probably 2009, Raphael “received money for the campaign of the UWP” but he has been told and he believed that Raphael has “not received any money from anybody on any promise from anybody in the UWP that they will be a recipient of a diplomatic passport.”
Astaphan said the UWP never took the position of producing evidence when it accused the government of selling diplomatic passports.
“Linton response to him is that, well I don’t want to know about you receiving money, I don’t want to know about the monies you in fact transferred to people here. I want you to produce a signed memo of understanding and a signed agreement showing the UWP had agreed to sell diplomatic passports conditionally and on the basis that they may win the election 2005,” he said.
Astaphan noted that the UWP “has not produced a single MOU, a single signed agreement, a single transfer of funds to support and establish any of the allegations that they have made from (Ali Reza Ziba Halat) Monfared to Alison Madueke going down the road.”
“Sam who is an eyewitness is being told to produce documentary evidence,” he remarked. “Those who are no eyewitnesses and have never been eyewitnesses and could never be eyewitnesses are making allegations without proof.”