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DOMINICA-Opposition wants public inquiry into Citizenship by Investment Programme

ROSEAU, Dominica, Jan 27, CMC – Opposition Leader Lennox Linton has called for a public inquiry into the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) and hinted at the possibility of his United Workers Party (UWP) staging street demonstrations in support of the call.

Addressing a public meeting in the capital on Thursday night, Linton said that the recent arrest of  Iranian national Ali Reza Halat Monfared on allegations of being involved in Iran’s biggest ever corruption scandal, underscores the need for the inquiry.

Monfared, who was arrested in the Dominican Republic, became a citizen of Dominica under the CBI and was also granted diplomatic status.

In a statement late Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  said it had conducted a comprehensive due diligence investigation before granting him citizenship.

“In 2014 Ali Reza Ziba Halat Monfared, an Iranian businessman resident in Malaysia, became a citizen of Dominica under the Citizenship by Investment Programme .Prior to becoming a citizen a comprehensive due diligence investigation was conducted in 2014 in respect of him by an internationally recognised U.S. due diligence firm as required by the relevant regulations.

“Mr. Monfared’s due diligence report showed no areas of concern in any jurisdiction or country including Iran, and he passed all other security checks. Additionally, the report found no pending legal or other matters against him anywhere,” the statement noted.

But Linton told party supporters that “we want an immediate end to the sale of Dominica’s diplomatic passport, we are not negotiating that, we want it to happen and we want it to happen now.

“We want a full public inquiry and a forensic investigation into the operations of Dominica’s CBI programme from 1995 and we want the government to stop this business of paying thee huge multi-million dollar commissions to a marketer of the CBI programme when Marigot has no hospital, when the people of Dominica have no jobs…but they say they have CBI money.

“We want the money by Citizenship by Investment to be used and to go to the benefit of all the people of Dominica,” Linton said, warning that the UWP was prepared to mount demonstrations to meet its demands for the public inquiry.

Under the CBI, foreign investors are allowed to make a significant investment in the socio-economic development of the island in return for citizenship. Dominica is one of several Caribbean countries weith such an initiative.

Linton said that there was also need for electoral reform “because we do not want people who have bought our passports to vote in our elections even though they don’t live in Dominica.

“We do not want anybody who has bought our passport and is living somewhere else to vote in our elections from long distance wherever they are. That is not going to happen.

“And so we will protest and we will protest and will protest and we will protest. People say it is time for action, it is time for action. We are educated enough, when you get educated for 10 years, it is PHD you are having.

“And so this is 2017, the year in which it will be no longer business as usual. The time for action to reclaim our country is now, stay tuned for announcements, stay tuned for advisories on what is going to happen next.

“We need you in numbers to protest and to protest for rights and to stand for rights because that is our right,” Linton told the public meeting.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is currently out of the island but has in the past dismissed calls for a public inquiry into the CBI, noting that reports on the programme are tabled in the Parliament annually.

Last modified onFriday, 27 January 2017 07:56
  • Countries: Dominica

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