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Sep 29, 2009

Mayor to be criminally charged; but strikes back at G.O.B.

Story PictureIt has been a busy day of news, but we start with the mess at City Hall. Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers has been quiet since the Auditor General’s report suggested that the act of under-depositing opened up doors for misappropriation of funds. Close to a quarter million dollars are unaccounted for the first four months of this year. In the past eighteen days, the mayor has been nursing her newborn son but it is now confirmed that the city’s first female mayor will be charged with criminal offenses in the next few days. And that has pulled Moya Flowers out of her silence. Today she struck back and one of her attorneys, Hubert Elrington, filed a nine-point Constitutional Motion in the Supreme Court against the government, which says that the city is to be run by the mayor and councillors and not by the Ministry of Finance or its representative, meaning Patrick Tillett. News five sat down with Elrington, who says that to charge the mayor would breach City Council regulations.

Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers
“They have been using rumors and innuendos, which I think the Central Government ought not to be doing. The Central Government is not to try people in public by the use of rumors and innuendos. If the Central Government has facts, evidence that would allow them to get past somebody like me in a court of law, then they should put up or shut up. So far as I understand from the Director of Public Prosecutions, the intention is to get the police to charge her with two or three offences of Failure to Comply with a Regulation. We are not talking about failure to comply with a regulation. It has been put abroad that the Mayor has been involved in hundreds of thousands of dollars, either improperly using them or the money disappearing from the City Council so we didn’t expect some technical charge. We expected a charge to say that a million dollars or half a million dollars or ten dollars is missing from the City Council. But apparently there is no charge that any money is missing from the City Council.”

“The D.P.P. has informed me that because the Mayor went on television to address the general public, in the D.P.P.’s opinion, she committed a crime when she told a lie on television. Now since when do politicians commit a crime when they tell a lie on television? If that was so I would be in prison many times over already. The D.P.P. said that the Mayor showed some documents to the public and in her opinion one or two of the documents were not genuine documents. That in her opinion, would be uttering a document. You have to say why you are uttering it, with what purpose. She is saying to pervert the course of justice. Well, if you are perverting the course of justice, you do it in court, you do it to the police or some other officer that is charged with some investigation in relation to some matter that has relevance to justice. When you are talking to the general public you are not perverting the course of justice, you are politicking, you are doing politics or you are doing journalism or you are doing something else. You are not dealing with justice at all.”

Marion Ali
“But those documents that were provided to the Auditor General’s Office, according to the audit report, here it’s saying that mayor Moya still has not come up with adequate documentation.”

Hubert Elrington
“That is the opinion of the Auditor General man. Nobody—the Auditor General’s opinion does not constitute a criminal offense. We are saying that the whole regulations are unconstitutional, null and void. I have never heard of any that such a practice is a crime and certainly if the mayor is charged with it, she would be the first person in the history of Belize to have been charged with such a crime. So it seems that they are manufacturing a criminal offense with which to charge her.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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