Unique: Caribbean officers linked to diplomatic passport sale | Grenada Information

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Politicians within the Caribbean are mentioned to be concerned in a corrupt commerce of diplomatic posts in trade for cash, an Al Jazeera investigation has revealed.

In Diplomats for Sale, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposes politicians in Dominica and Grenada keen to just accept secret marketing campaign contributions from rich overseas businessmen in trade for diplomatic passports.

In Dominica, members of each most important political events seem keen to obtain cash in return for a political publish, allegations they strongly deny.

Undercover filming reveals how former Dominican Prime Minister Oliver Seraphin supplied to dealer a secret deal at hand out an ambassadorship in Asia for charges totalling $470,000.

The revelation comes days forward of a normal election in Dominica on December 6, through which Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is up for re-election. 

Al Jazeera’s investigation additionally reveals Skerrit allegedly took a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} for his 2014 election marketing campaign from an Iranian businessman named Alireza Monfared in trade for an ambassadorship for Dominica to Malaysia. 

Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit allegedly took a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} for his 2014 election marketing campaign from an Iranian businessman [Manoj Bullah/Al Jazeera]

Apart from cash, Monfared additionally allegedly supplied Skerrit with T-shirts and different paraphernalia for his 2014 marketing campaign.

“Ali acquired his diplomatic passport by way of the arms of the prime minister personally when he got here to Kuala Lumpur,” in response to businessman Manoj Bullah, who was a witness to the deal.

“With out that cash, Ali wouldn’t have gotten his diplomatic passport,” says Bullah.

One of many causes Monfared wished the passport, alleges Bullah, is that it will present the Iranian with diplomatic immunity and forestall him from having to fret concerning the Iranian authorities.

Monfared was ultimately arrested by his personal authorities and in early November 2019 sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for stealing over a billion {dollars} in oil revenues.

Oliver Seraphin later denied ever discussing the proposal to buy a diplomatic passport with Skerrit, claiming he was talking with out authority and name-dropping to impress.

Prime Minister Skerrit strongly denies talking to Oliver Seraphin about an ambassadorship, calling his feedback completely false.

Diplomats For Sale - Alireza and Skerrit 2

Manoj Bullah, proper, was a witness to Alireza Monfared, left, receiving a diplomatic passport from Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, centre [Manoj Bullah/Al Jazeera]

Grenada funding scheme

The investigation reveals one other cash for passports scheme in Grenada, the place an funding scheme is linked to the supply of an ambassadorship.

In keeping with US businessman Leo Ford, certainly one of his companions within the scheme was supplied a diplomatic position in return for kickbacks on future authorities tasks. That is denied by the Grenadian authorities and former enterprise accomplice, who says he’s the topic of a private vendetta by Ford.

The case echoes the scandal of Eric Resteiner, a US conman, who claimed he handed half 1,000,000 {dollars} in money to Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell as half cost for being appointed Ambassador at Massive. Mitchell says he solely acquired $15,00Zero for journey bills.

The 18-month investigation additionally seems at how dozens of rich worldwide businessmen have been made ambassadors by a number of Caribbean states to signify them in nations around the globe and on the United Nations.

Though there isn’t a proof of wrongdoing on their half or cost for his or her positions, the ambassadorships don’t conform to the United Nations’ personal conference on who ought to be a diplomat.

Have a tip for Al Jazeera that ought to be investigated? Learn how to get in contact with us on our Suggestions web page.

In keeping with the 1961 Vienna Conference, ambassadors ought to usually be residents of the nation and never engaged in skilled exercise past their full-time diplomatic position within the nations they’re appointed to.

In most of the instances Al Jazeera examined, the individuals concerned weren’t residents of the nation they represented they usually have been nonetheless concerned in different actions, in opposition to the UN’s guidelines.

Diplomats for Sale will be watched on-line right here and shall be on Al Jazeera:

Tuesday, November 26 – 12:00 GMT

Wednesday, November 27 – 01:00 GMT

Thursday, November 28 – 06:00 GMT

Friday, November 29 – 12:00 GMT

Saturday, November 30 – 20:00 GMT

Sunday, December 1 – 06:00 GMT

The Diplomats for Sale podcast, launched each Monday for the following 4 weeks, will be discovered right here:

– Sticher