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Haitian Inquiry Gets Underway

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Haitian Government has launched a commission of inquiry into concerns of corruption at its embassy in Nassau.

The commission arrives today and will meet with Bahamian officials, diplomatic staff, local recruits and community leaders to conduct investigations until August 3.

It was announced in a press statement released by Haiti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the weekend The ministry’s statement referred to a news report of an important investigation carried out by Bahamian authorities on corruption involving Haitian diplomats in Nassau, printed on July 25.

It further advised Haitian diplomats that their mission was to project a positive image of the country, and to behave in a manner above reproach.

The move has come as a surprise to embassy staff, according to Herns Mesamours, head consular officer from the Haitian Embassy.

Mr Mesamours told The Tribune the statement was responding to media coverage of an arraignment of three Bahamians and two Haitians accused of a fraudulent marriage scheme.

However, he said he was confused by the reference to the court arraignment, and had spoken with the minister earlier this month.

“We have nothing to do with that. I don’t know what’s going on,” Mr Mesamours said, “everything is clear.”

In an earlier written statement, Mr Mesamours said he was not concerned about a scandal at the embassy.

“Only, I will brandish the results that I provide with the full support of other staff of the Mission since the nine months that I am head of the consular section of the Embassy of Haiti in the Bahamas,” read his translated statement.

On Wednesday, three men and two women were charged in Magistrate’s Court with matters related to fraudulent marriages.

Bradley Smith, 48, of Moncur Alley off Kemp Road; Bernard Musgrove, 19, of Palm Beach Street; Haitian national Willy Exama, 24, of Mackey Street; Haitian national Anslene Nicolas, 23, of Greenwood Road; and Bridney Johnson, 19, of Yellow Elder, appeared before Magistrate Kara Deveaux-Turnquest.

Smith, a Justice of the Peace, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false pretences, two counts of attempted fraud by false pretences, two counts of abetment to commit fraud by false pretences, two counts of abetment to commit fraudulent marriage and two counts of conspiracy to commit a fraudulent marriage.

Smith pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Exama, Johnson, Nicolas and Musgrove were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false pretences, fraud, attempted fraud by false pretences, fraudulent marriage and conspiracy to commit a fraudulent marriage.

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