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Jul 13, 2017

Montero Says Office Workers Behind Nationality Requests

On Wednesday, Minister Rene Montero strongly denied involvement with the Harmouche family in terms of assisting to get their nationality. According to him, he only intervened once in the documented case in the Nationality Report. But confronted with the notice in an Appendix to the Report, Montero stuck to his claim. However, with a different application noted in the Appendix, he allowed that perhaps someone in his office was behind the request.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“Honorable Rene Montero requested Saad Muhammad Harmouch’s nationality file via a letter dated January ninth, 2012, to former Director Miss Ruth Meighan.’ Are you denying that you wrote that letter?”

 

Rene Montero

Rene Montero, Minister of Works

“Yes, Senator. I think the Auditor General needs to explain how she interprets that. You notice the letter I wrote on page 212. I did not single [out] any file; I never requested any file.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“What letter are you referring to on page 212?”

 

Rene Montero

“That was the only letter that I wrote.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“Where you requested the facilitation for the ceremonies…”

 

Rene Montero

“For those BNA numbers.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“For those. That’s the only letter that you wrote?”

 

Rene Montero

“That’s the only letter that I wrote.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“That’s the only time you intervened in the nationality process, minister?”

 

Rene Montero

“That’s the only time that I have intervened.  But as I mentioned before, my office in Santa Elena was making requests for the status of certain nationalities; maybe this could be one. Because I know the person, I am familiar with the person, but I never made the request. But perhaps it came from my office.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“So it’s possible that while your name was on the minute sheet, as Minister Montero making the request, that it was not from you personally; that it was your office or secretary could have made the request on your behalf?”

 

Rene Montero

“It’s possible.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“But you are saying there’s only one such letter that you signed, that you can recall?”

 

Rene Montero

“Right.”

 

The senate inquiry continues next week.

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