It has recently come to light that PetroCaribe funds accessed in loans since 2012 never made it to the house for approval.
PetroCaribe sells fuel to Belize in terms of concessionary payment, which in turn gives GOB access to millions of dollars which can be accessed through loan agreements.
Since the first shipment of fuel was made in 2012, under the new agreement established when Alba PetroCaribe Belize Ltd opened offices in Belize, GOB has accepted loans of US$ 18 million dollars, US $76 million dollars, and US 19 million dollars for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. The loans never went to the house for approval until last month.
A few weeks ago we told you about a letter Julius Espat, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, wrote to the Auditor General asking her to investigate the matter. In the letter, Mr Espat says the Government took out the loan and then came back to approve it at the House of Representatives, when it should have been the other way around.
Julius Espat has since filed a legal case against the Minister of Finance, Hon. Dean Barrow. Furthermore, Mr Espat is seeking an injunction to restrain the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister from repaying the loan which forms part of the consolidated PetroCaribe Funds, unless and until the National Assembly passes an act that authorizes the repayment of the loan.
The Defendants in this case are listed as the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General, and Alba PetroCaribe Belize Ltd.
On Wednesday we approached Mr Espat for an interview, but were told that he will be speaking on the matter at a press briefing on a date to be determined.
Julius Espat’s legal representatives are S. C. Eamon Courtney, S. C. Godfrey Smith, S. C. Magalia Marin, Andrew Marshalleck, and Anthony Sylvester.