By Makini Brice, Reuters, August 19, 2016
A Haitian Senate report has called for charges to be brought against two former prime ministers and several ministers for alleged embezzlement, abuse of authority and forgery stemming from the use of funds in a Venezuelan oil loan program.
The executive summary of the report, dated Wednesday, said heads of ministries granted multimillion-dollar projects to firms while bypassing the public bidding process and signed contracts that were not under their authority. The full report has not been released.
The Senate report will add to concerns about billions of dollars of aid promised to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Much of the money went to directly to aid organizations, with results on the ground mostly unimpressive. Aid flows have slowed as memories of the devastation fade.
Venezuela's PetroCaribe program, by contrast, funneled money directly to the Haitian government’s coffers. The program, which Haiti joined in 2006, allowed Caribbean nations to pay low prices for oil from Venezuela, part of which would be financed upfront, with the balance put in a fund to finance social and economic projects.