PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – France Sunday urged its nationals to stay away from Haiti as thousands took to the streets demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over allegations of embezzlement.
The protests organized by opposition political parties, led to the burning of tires, the erection of roadblocks and fire being set to at least two buildings near the departmental police headquarters. There were also reports of clashes between protesters and police near the presidential palace. Two people were also reported to have been killed.
Reaction to released report
The new round of protests follows the release of the 612 page report of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSC/CA) on the management of projects financed by PetroCaribe, an alliance between dome Caribbean states and Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.
Earlier this month, Pierre Volmar Demesyeux, the CSC/CA president handed over the final audit report on the use of PetroCaribe funds to the President of the Senate, Carl Murat Cantave and the Deputy of the House of Representatives, Gary Bodeau.
The audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programs and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund.
The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.
For example, the report found that in 2014, for the project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes with two separate companies.
Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.
The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) said the findings as outlined in the reports “cast a crisp and overwhelming light on the disconcerting magnitude and gravity of the evil of corruption in its various political and operational mechanisms.
“Generalized corruption becomes endemic evil, a messy mud, a degrading fact, a robbery organized. It has become a real social plague that is plaguing our institutions …and thus seriously undermines, both from an ethical and an economic point of view, the development of our country.’
They said that the Haitian people expect that these two audit reports issued by the CSC/CA “will not be closed.
“In its just anger and fury at this vast corruption scandal that reaches or splashes the highest peaks of the State, it demands that the PetroCaribe trial be held.”
On Sunday, the opposition parties, which have long called for Moise’s removal from office as a result of the controversy surrounding the PetroCaribe funds, urged their supporters to demonstrate peacefully.