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Nov 24, 2017

Audit of Jungle Experience Continues as Owner/Soldier Sent on Leave

While the Force was busy training with its international partners, a prior such training involving German soldiers and the costs asked for by a senior officer’s private company remains under scrutiny of an official audit. Belize Jungle Experience Limited is credited with salaries and the use of the then-non-functional helicopter fleet for training in Belize’s jungles between 2015 and 2017, were wrongly reported and paid for. While both sides of the political aisle have condemned the actions of BJEL’s principal, Lieutenant Colonel Charlton Roches, his bosses in the Force have sent him on leave awaiting the result of the audit.

 

Steven Ortega

Colonel Steven Ortega, Acting Commander, Belize Defence Force

“As the Ministry has spoken, that this is still an ongoing investigation; the audit is still being investigated and everything, so I will not comment further on that matter.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, is the gentleman, Mr. Roches, is he still on active duty? Is he on any kind of interdiction, leave, to ensure that his role in this particular investigation is properly investigated?”

 

Colonel Steven Ortega

“He is presently on leave.”

 

Reporter

“Any timeline in terms of when the investigation might be completed?”

 

Colonel Steven Ortega

“I’m not sure; I’m not the one conducting the investigation, so I’m not sure. I will have to find out when is the proposed timeline.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, were you surprised that this happened? That there was what the Auditor General said, some sort of collusion between a B.D.F. who created a company, used monies of the B.D.F. and things like that, because it might have raised eyebrows when that negotiation was formed?”

 

Colonel Steven Ortega

“Like I said, I will not comment any further, because this is still being investigated, so this is a touchy topic to be discussing at this present time, because the investigation is still ongoing.”

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