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9695: Karshan's response to corruption (fwd)
From: Pierre Jean <email@example.com>
I am not quite convinced that the current
administration is serious about eliminating corruption
within its ranks, just as many questions linger about
the previous administration. While Ms. Karshan listed
actions that have been undertaken recently, it seems
that very few people (if any) have been arrested for
their blatant misappropriation of public funds. This
is somewhat similar to the low rate of prosecution of
white-collar crimes in the United States.
Just off the top of my head (and this is probably the
very small tip of the iceberg):
Why is it that there is no investigation of the
plundering of the employees' pension fund at APN? Mr.
Fritz Aristil should have something to say about this,
shouldn't he? The APN labor union are certainly very
vocal about it.
On a related subject, why is the accounting of port
revenues at APN so nebulous and difficult to
comprehend? How about the unexplained differences
between the declared amount of custom duties and taxes
collected comapred with the actual amounts recorded by
DGI? Are Mr. Jean-Jacques Valentin's accountants so
inept that they continuously make arithmetic mistakes?
Could it be that the monthly payoffs to some
government officials are difficult to explain?
Why is it that there is no investigation of the
destruction of the Port de St Marc, which had just
been rebuilt at a cost of $2 million to the
government? How could a simple storm destroy the port?
Was it bad design, or did a small group siphon off the
funds, leaving the construction company with little
money to build a SOLID port?
Who was minding the store at state-owned Darbonne
plant while some top executives were coolly pocketing
the sales revenues of the company? Weren't it for a
Cuban consultant blowing the whistle, we probably
wouldn't have known. How about the hopes of the
farmers in the region being dashed by some corrupt
government officials? Some of them had already started
setting aside some sugar cane for Darbonne. How cruel
is that? How is Darbonne doing today?
Can someone explain why the CASECs, ASECS and
municipalities of Cap-Haitien and Labadie have never
received a dime of the passenger tax ($6 last I heard)
from the cruise ships? This tax was supposed to be
allocated folows: 1/3 to the central government, 1/3
to the Cap-Haitien city hall, 1/3 to the CASECS of
Labadie and neighboring towns? However, it seems all
the funds get "stuck" in Port-au-Prince for some
reason. Are they spent somewhere else, or do they
actually disappear? Inquiring minds want to know.
The Minister of Interior told the Senate that the
funds his minions had PERSONALLY collected for
emergency passports issuance were "in good hands."
Have those funds ever been traced? [Note: the
Ministry of Interior, in violation of all regulations
granting the Central Bank sole authority to collect
public fees, funds, etc, set up at the Passport agency
its OWN booth for collecting fees due on emergency
passport issuance. This led to a rather public and
ugly battle between the Minister of Interior and the
Prime Minister. The situation was corrected, but the
funds directly collected by the Ministry of Interior
still have not been recovered.]
When doing business at DGI, why am I always told that
DGI is out of Form X or Form Y (which are free, of
course) but that I can BUY them from someone standing
outside for 25 or 30 gourdes? Is DGI so disorganized
that it cannot refill its inventory of forms in a
timely manner, or is there a well-organized network
that seeks to profit from even the most basic service
to the public?
A few posts ago, when we were discussing fees paid to
foreign lobbyists, many people stated that the
government was under no obligation to divulge why it
was spending thousands on lobbying activities. If I
had a sense that the government was managing its
financial affairs rather weel, I probably wouldn't
have thought twice about lobbying expenditures. After
all, it is expected that a country must defend its
interests, especially in Washington. However, the poor
management of the government's meager funds casts a
shadow on ALL expenditures, even those on very
legitimate activities like lobbying.
I don't expect corruption to disappear in Haiti, or
anywhere else in the world for that matter, because it
would simply be wishful thinking. However, what is
happening now defies imagination, even when compared
to previous administrations. If the current
administration is serious about serving the people,
many officials deserve to be at the very least fired,
and some certainly should do some jail time.
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