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Jan 28, 2020

Kareem Musa to PM Barrow: Invoke Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act!

As the trial of American Armenian national Lev Dermen enters its second day in the U.S. courts, in Belize, the matter is getting plenty attention because of its implications to a sitting government minister.  The question in everyone’s mind is about the contents of the messages shared between Dermen’s former business partner, Jacob Kingston and U.D.P. minister John Saldivar. The contents of those text messages, according to the Prime Minister, will determine his next move—he will fire Saldivar if it proves that he received monies from Dermen or allow Saldivar to remain in his cabinet, if it does not.  It is not certain when that information will be revealed during the trial in Utah, but the People’s United Party is saying that the government does have the option to obtain that information. Attorney and P.U.P. area representative, Kareem Musa, in a letter dated January twenty-eighth, pointed out to Prime Minister Barrow and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte that the government has yet to invoke the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.  Musa says that the Attorney General has the obligation under the treaty to invoke the provisions contained in the act and to request all documents, records, and articles of evidence related to John Saldivar and any other public figure in the Lev Dermen trial.  


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores

“The Central Authority who is the Attorney General of Belize the honorable Michael Peyrefitte has a duty to request from the United States because we now know as of Thursday last week we had been hearing rumors but we now know as part of the docket in the Lev Dermen case that there were text messages between a sitting member of government the honorable John Saldivar and I believe Jacob Kingston. That is the Kingston who he shared text messages with. We need to find out.   Under this Act, he is and the Attorney General is allowed to contact the Central Authority in the United states that being the Attorney General in the United States to request the documents, the official records that are in this case. It does not matter that the case is ongoing or is about to start. This document and these documents can be released even in this very early stage of the trial in the United States. So they have zero excuses now to say that they cannot access the information because we have a treaty in place that was signed with the United in the States of America in 2001. It was ratified by the United States in 2003. So we have where it is, we have the authority that the Attorney General can and has a duty to the people of Belize to exercise his authority under this to request those documents at this stage.   There is other documentary evidence which at this very preliminary stage can help us in Belize piece together our own puzzle. So whatever proof that they have whether it is a signed delivery, a receipt signed by somebody in Florida saying that I got this money on behalf of, we won’t called no names on that because no names have been released yet, but I received money in Florida. That again speaks to documentary evidence, official records that may be a part of this criminal prosecution that is currently taking place in the United States. All of this is relevant to what is happening now in Belize. While the letter that was sent to the Prime Minister and the attorney General specifically speaks to the text messages, let us get access to that, it also speaks to other documentary evidence including proof of wires, any receipts that may have been signed in Florida. It is a paper trial that we are looking in order to start an investigation if needs be right here in Belize.   We are going to take legal action in the form of a mandamus in the Supreme Court of Belize because we find this is a gross dereliction of their duty and we will go to a Supreme Court to compel them to act.”

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