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Apr 24, 2015

Treasury Employee Charged for $500,000 Theft

David Enriquez

Two persons have been arrested and charged for their roles in a half-a-million dollar Treasury Department scheme. The internal fleecing was brought to light, at least officially, by Prime Minister Dean Barrow last week. And today a very confusing and brief police release announced the arrests of David Enriquez in Belize City, for theft, and Octaviana Lopez in Dangriga, for handling stolen goods. From what we’ve been able to decipher, in January and March, two subventions for the Toledo Community College to the tune of two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars each were diverted. On one occasion, the money was placed into a Belize Bank Dangriga Branch account in the name of the Seine Bight Community Training Program, from where it was periodically withdrawn. On the other occasion, it was diverted into a Belize Bank Dangriga Branch account in the name of Octaviana Lopez, from where it was also periodically withdrawn. Investigators believe that Enriquez, a Second Class Clerk at the Treasury Department in Belize City, switched accounts when handling the money transfers, and they say he also did it on one other occasion, for forty-seven thousand. Enriquez was arraigned in Magistrate’s Court today, while his attorney, Oscar Selgado, says it’s a waste of time because his client will walk away from the charge.

 

Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for David Enriquez

“The only thing that was missing is the name David Enriquez and that is now public knowledge because he was arraigned before the Courts today, the Chief Magistrate. He was charged with three separate counts of theft alleging that he misappropriated money belonging to the Government of Belize from the Treasury Department. I want the public to know that David Enriquez is innocent. David Enriquez was provided with no proof, no disclosure, nothing that could effectually tell him how the monies were missing, how it is that he is implicated…he is a Second Class Clerk at the Treasury Department. He has immediate supervisors over him. Even though the duties that his desk performs include transfers of money, wire transfers and so forth, every transfer request transfer that comes in does not come to him…it comes to a senior person. Whenever he effects any transfer it goes back to a senior person for classification and certification. In the case of the bank where it is alleged that the money is removed from…the bank has a system in place, a check and balance, that once ten thousand dollars or more is removed from the bank the money has to be declared – where is it going, where are you getting it from, etc? So that David Enriquez could never have moved two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars on two separate instances and forty-seven thousand dollars plus on the other instance from any bank in any lump sum or over any period of time. If the Police and the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Government of Belize are serious about investigating this matter, then they should go to the commercial banks that were involved because the money was taken out through banks allegedly, and the banks had checks and balances on the system and those checks and balances failed. Look at what the failures are, what caused it, which human factors are involved and then the lead is there. But don’t come to David Enriquez as a Second Class Clerk and use him as a scapegoat. At the end of the day he will be exonerated, and it will just be another half a million dollars of taxpayer money gone down the drain, thrown away because the system does not want to go after those who they know are culpable.”

 

Today, the prosecutor objected to bail on the ground that Enriquez was a flight risk. That objection was upheld by the Chief Magistrate, and Enriquez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Selgado says that he will be filing an application to the Supreme Court for bail.

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2 Responses for “Treasury Employee Charged for $500,000 Theft”

  1. Patriot says:

    It’s just another scapegoat with a good pay off for this!

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    The GOB case is full of holes.I am not an Attorney and i can see Mr Enriquez been exonerated.I am confident that Oscar Selgado is going to win this case.

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