Entornointeligente.com / Acting Police Chief Lincoln Corbette. File photo Money laundering, work permit fraud in the Labour Division and theft at the Government Treasury are among matters being investigated by the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF).
Acting Chief of Police, Lincoln Corbette, made the announcements at a press conference today.
He reported that members of the CDPF along with officers from the Custom and Exile Division executed a search warrant for cash at an apartment located at Comfort Cottages in Terre Platte, Paix Bouche.
“During the search, a large quantity of United States currency equivalent to Eastern Caribbean dollars, one million, three hundred twenty-two thousand, six hundred sixty-seven and twenty-seven cents (EC$1,322,667.27) was recovered,” Corbette disclosed.
As a result, two men, Aronnie Armstead Stedman of St. Joseph and Kendel Sylvester of Woodford Hill, were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
“On Monday, March 29, 2021, pursuant to the provision of the proceeds of crime act, of 2013, a forfeiture application was filed at the Magistrateâs court for the forfeiture of the cash. On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the seized cash was deposited in the detained fund account at the National Bank of Dominica (NBD) LTD.,” Corbette stated.
He said the men were released pending an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) but did not dismiss the possibility of a rearrest and charge at a later date.
Corbette further revealed that a senior employee of the Labour Division, one employee of the Inland Revenue Ddivision, and an employee of the Ministry of Health are all assisting the police with their investigation of a work permit fraud.
However, he dismissed claims that the sum of cash seized in Paix Bouche is associated with their investigation of the alleged fraud.
“â¦there is an attempt to link the cash seized to the matter being investigated at the Labour Division. These comments again are erroneous and they are in no way connected to the matter being investigated at the Labour Division as no cash has been recovered in this particular Investigation.”
Corbette also went on to say that suggestions on social media and elsewhere that the cash seized at Terre Platte, Paix Bouche was found at a building in Vieille Case is “erroneous, malicious, and I think calculated to destroy the reputation of innocent law-abiding citizens. To reiterate, the cash was not found in the Vieille Case and had nothing to do with anybody living in the village of Vieille Case.”
The Acting Chief noted that though there may have been speculation in the past, but based on their investigation of fraud at the Labour Division, it was “worrying” that senior officials would engage in such illegal activities.
He said the entry, through the airport of two Haitians into Dominica sometime last week raised a red flag for the police which led to their investigation.
“It borders on the issue of national security. Here it is you have people coming into the island with fraudulent documents and you have people in positions of authority in the Labour Division who exploit the system, knowing the loopholes in the system, for their own personal gain,” the Acting Chief lamented. “So we are very concerned.”
However, Corbette went on to point out further noted that no connection has been made between what happened at the Labour Division and any other issues involving the trafficking of Haitians in and out of Dominica.
“All we have done so far is that we were able to determine that certain work permits that were issued, were done so fraudulently and the processes which should have been followed were never followed…simple processes and some steps were skipped, so clearly the person had help along the process,” he explained.
It is expected that the senior Labour Officer whoâs being investigated will be brought before the court on Thursday, April1, 2021.
Meantime, investigations are also ongoing into the theft of an unspecified sum of cash from the Treasury.
The Acting Chief said one female employee of the Treasury Department is assisting the police with their investigation and no money has been recovered whilst the police await the final figure from the Accounting General which is said to have been stolen.
LINK ORIGINAL: Dominica News Online