The hunt appears to be on for David Miguel Nanes Schnitzer, the Mexican-American who also previously held Belizean nationality, which has since been revoked. Since being granted bail last week Friday by Supreme Court Justice Denis Hanomansingh, Schnitzer, who lived on Ambergris Caye, has not been seen and reportedly failed to appear for his first check-in with authorities there on order of the court, as part of the conditions for his bail. Schnitzer is accused of two separate counts of possession and uttering of a false document, separate drivers’ licenses in the names of David Nanes and David Banes. It is further alleged that he was also in possession of an array of forged documents under the assumed name David Banes including a Belize passport illegally obtained in 2012. Using the Banes alias, he was also able to obtain a Social Security card, a Belize Bank debit card, and boat master’s license, as well as the aforementioned driver’s licenses. The documents were granted using false information given by Nanes and are all expected to be revoked. The case has provoked outcry from the People’s United Party, which calls on the Ministries of Immigration and National Security to say why Nanes Schnitzer was never charged by any authority in Belize with obtaining nationality by “fraud, false representation and the concealment of material circumstance”. The failure to do this, they say, is, quote, “an inexplicable and severe dereliction of duty and gross negligence of our national security concerns.” The PUP also call for “the report of the Auditor General on the Immigration Scandal and the irregularities observed by her office in respect of the “Pennergate” investigation.” to be immediately tabled at the next sitting of the House of Representatives, and for a full investigation to be carried out, and serves notice that it will table a motion at the next meeting of the Senate for a Special Senate Select Committee to investigate corruption at the Immigration Department. Meanwhile, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is calling for the Prime Minister to intervene. President Geovannie Brackett says that Belize’s international credibility is at stake after a fatal miscommunication.
Geovannie Brackett, President of COLA: We’re calling on the Prime Minister to look at the issue because, there’s also the credibility of the justice system that is at risk right now. And it is not the first time that they have been extradition for individuals but what makes this very special is that the US Marshal actually took the time to try to find this individual, found this individual, put it into the hands of the authority of the government, but then again we were the ones who allowed him to get away. And there seems there has been a miscommunication as well as balance as communication as it regards to between the government’s decision to reject his nationality which would have been given over to the DPP’s Office, so they could have presented that to judge and probably he would have not been able to have gotten bail but nevertheless we were well aware that this individual was being sought out by various governments, the Mexican and the US Government. That should have been enough strength I believe to have delay the judgment on the bail and allow the prosecution time to bring forward any evidence as well as to allow the other government authorities who are seeking him to present their documents.
In COLA’s release, mention is made of Donela Smith and Johny Netty Lopez, two women accused last week of stealing underwear from a Belize City store who were denied bail, and today Brackett also mentioned the case of “El Espanol,” the Free Zone businessman and resident shot to death in Chetumal. But isn’t it the judge’s right to make the final decision on bail applications with whatever information he has? Brackett conceded that this was so, but stressed that the miscommunication led to the decision and leaves Belize in a situation where the media has more information than the authorities, and that he says, leaves us unsafe and in trouble.
Geovannie Brackett, President of COLA: It’s not like we’re calling the judge to reverse his decision, there’s nothing that can be done. This individual today now because he has gotten bail, because there was an imbalance of communication of information between the DPP and that of what the government’s decision to reject his passport and you have to admit, it is the media, it is channel 7 that has been giving out these information. So apparently, the media has more information that the DPP’s office. That doesn’t sit well, and I don’t think Belizeans should feel safe with that kind of environment. And I am telling you, however you want to put it, we may sell our self a lie that we are safe or that it’s okay what Belize is doing in the cover up of corruption. International it’s not sitting well and I’m telling you there are a lot of powerful people watching this nation who are getting very concerned of the level of corruption that is being spread.
Geovannie Brackett, President of COLA: Definitely. Minister Godwin Hulse, whosoever is the minister of immigration, the Prime Minister. I think the Prime Minister needs to deal with this issue, you can’t wait to hear from those subordinates. The Prime Minister no less needs to assure the Belize and International community as it relates to this matter and steps that the government is willing to take when it comes to dealing with public officers who are participating and including ministers who have participated in these acts of corruption.
While it is suspected that Nanes may have absconded, it is also believed that his assets in Belize are filed under his wife’s name. Those properties, spread across the country, are said to amount to an estimated ten million dollars. Mexican authorities allege that Nanes Schnitzer headed the Mexican arm of Stanford’s Ponzi scheme which allegedly defrauded investors in that country of 42 million dollars. Mexico has a 2011 arrest warrant for him for unauthorized securities transactions. But no one can say for sure where he is