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Mar 21, 2014

COLA prepares for private prosecution of Elvin Penner

Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action….The organization says that they are providing the public with the final resort to have former Minister of State Elvin Penner, before a court to be questioned in respect to the immigration scandal that continues to stink to high heavens.  On February twenty-seventh, COLA went to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court to file two criminal charges against Penner. Penner is expected to be summoned to the court next week Thursday, but it is not known if by then the police criminal investigation will be completed. COLA’s private prosecution of Penner is based on claims that he committed criminal offences when he made a false statement in respect of a nationality certificate used to procure the passport for Won Hong Kim and for recommending Kim for a Belizean passport. In preparing for next week’s hearing, COLA has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Auditor General and the Commissioner of Police requesting information on investigations carried out on the immigration debacle. According to COLA President, Giovanni Brackett, the D.P.P. Cheryl-Lynn Vidal will join the organization in the private prosecution. But will COLA get the same cooperation from ComPol Allen Whylie and Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley?


Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

Giovanni Brackett

“Yesterday we wrote three letters—one to the D.P.P., one to the Auditor General and one to the Commissioner of Police. In the letter to the D.P.P. Duane, we acknowledge that she has the authority to take over any private prosecution….we invite her to do so. We also stated categorically clear that if she doesn’t intend to prosecute him that we are hoping through the freedom of information act, we would like to have those files be available to us so that we can go ahead and prosecute him. She was kind enough to grant us that she is willing to work along with us. She said that she will definitely be there with us at the court next week Thursday in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court and that she is waiting for more files and documents to come forward from the police department. In the letter to the Auditor General, we are requesting all the necessary files related to the Penner Passport Scandal and the audit that was done in the immigration department. And thirdly, we have written likewise to the Commissioner of Police that there is a matter before the courts and we are hereby requesting all the necessary files. That took place yesterday and this, many people could describe, is a last avenue to have Elvin Penner before a court, before a questioning body; I’d like to put it that way. In this day and age whereby accountable for public official is really high, it is very appalling that a minister whose name is caught up in such high scandal and corruption has failed to give any sort of comment to the media. That should not be tolerated. It’s a shame that the police department, the commissioner of police had to be forced by the courts to do a criminal investigation. How is it that the police have not made a serious attempt to investigate Minister Penner. Well I can tell you that through this latest move by COLA, this might be your only attempt to summons Mister Penner because we have filed two application offenses against him. So he has to show up to court to say I plead guilty or not guilty. This might be the only chance that the Belizean people will have to put him in a court to answer question because so far we have not gotten a senate inquiry. If he is summoned and do not show up at the court, it is contempt of the court and a bench warrant must be issued to him or maybe he does show up with two, three attorney ready to order the case. But this is one of the last resorts to have him answer to the public.”


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