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Mar 27, 2014

Elvin Penner is finally criminally charged

Elvin Penner

Former Minister of State Elvin Penner appeared in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this morning where he was criminally charged for his involvement in the immigration scandal. Despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence and multiple investigations, in the end charges were not brought against Penner by the Police. In fact, if it were not for the efforts of the grassroots organization, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, Penner would not have been summoned to court this morning. On February twenty-eighth, COLA filed criminal charges against Elvin Penner for Vouching the Fitness and making a Statement which he knew to be false in a material particular in respect of the nationality certificate and passport issued to Won Hong Kim.  And so it was that after more than six months of enjoying apparently absolute government protection at all levels, Elvin Penner had his day in court. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan this morning and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

At about ten minutes past nine this morning, former Minister of State Elvin Penner arrived on the grounds of the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. He didn’t come alone, but was flanked by his wife and daughter and a motley crew of his supporters from Cayo South. With his attorney Ellis Arnold in tow, Penner and entourage made their way into court, where the disgraced politician will have to answer for his involvement in the Won Hong Kim nationality and passport scandal.


Twenty minutes after, COLA representatives and the D.P.P. emerged from the courtroom, followed shortly after by Elvin Penner. It is as he exited the courtroom that Penner’s motley crew of supporters attempted to shield him…from what, we couldn’t quite figure out.


Kareem Musa, Attorney, COLA

“In court today, Elvin Penner was charged with two criminal offenses; both of them are summary offenses which is why I did not object to bail…they are not the serious offenses. The D.P.P. alluded to the fact that there is a more serious offense under section one-seventy-eight of the criminal code and I think that is still being considered. But today, was the charges that we in the P.U.P. had brought in the writ of mandamus; the very same two charges are the charges that COLA instituted which was under section three (H) of the Passport Act and section twenty-two of the Nationality Act. So those are the two summary offenses that he has been charged with. He was offered bail in the sum of two thousand dollars for each offense.”


If Penner is to be the villain in this tale of immigration corruption, then the hero of the story would be COLA. The small grassroots organization is responsible for Penner being in court today. And no matter what fate awaits the disgraced politician, COLA has played a significant role in seeing justice facilitated.


Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“Today is a very historical moment for the fact that an organization, a grassroots organization, had to be the one to step in the gap to charge Elvin Penner. I mean it doesn’t get any bigger than that; that is historical. It is not that we wanted to stop there, but coming here today, a lot of people thought that this case would have been thrown; a lot of people thought that COLA would have not gone anywhere with this matter. It was a very risky one when we applied for the two charges to be laid on him. But when the writ of mandamus was issued, it strengthened our stand and having the D.P.P. to discuss coming on board that allowed to give some legitimacy to this matter. So we are happy today that a step towards justice has been taken.”


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa

“They have fought against intimidation, they have stepped up at a time when nobody else wanted to step up and I want to commend them. They have done a great job; they have brought a former minister to be criminally charged before the courts this morning. Criminally charged; this is not a civil suit. He has been criminally charged and he has been offered bail like a normal Belizean. There are many other ministers who think they are abnormal; they need to face the courts as well. So I need to commend Mister Brackett on a job well done for bringing him to court today and this is what Belizeans have been clamouring for and it is the first step in the right direction.”


Penner may be freed on minimum bail of two thousand dollars, but that in no way takes away from the significance of today’s appearance. After months of playing tag, Penner is now IT, and if COLA has its way, he will face jail time for what he has allegedly done.


Kareem Musa

“If he is found guilty, the law does provide that there is a possibility of a sentence. There is no mandatory sentence to prison for these offenses, but the possibility is there and certainly we will push for that at that stage if we were to get a conviction.”


The case was adjourned until May twenty-ninth, when there will be full disclosure of all evidence. Musa confirmed that in the next two months they will be pressuring the Commissioner to hand over all evidence in his possession. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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18 Responses for “Elvin Penner is finally criminally charged”

  1. two cents says:

    Great work COLA!

    I hope Erwin Contreras is next.

  2. the voice says:

    What a joke! Why waste tax money and time? Big smile on his face and the ugly wife also. Take away his Canadian passport.

  3. Tina says:

    Opening up a can of worms or what and Kareem Musa as the attorney this is just pure friggin are you kidding me you want to start taking politicians to task let it begin?!!!

  4. Geez! says:

    APPLAUSE for COLA!! Who says Belizeans are all dumb and unpatriotic? COLA
    deserves an award (and a grant to continue their work) from Transparency
    International and all those countries who claim they are fighting corruption. See
    your poster kids here in Belize…………..COLA!!!!!!!! As for Penner things won’t turn
    out too bad, the PUP will be satisfied with just embarrassing the UDP. He
    will get off with a little court fine and can go enjoy the rest of his days and his
    millions at his Pine Ridge resort.

  5. venus says:

    I cannot believe there are unpatriotic Belizeans who are supporting a corrupt politician for selfish gain. They are blinded from seeing what direction corruption is taking Belize. I said on this blog the day Penner was name minister of state that he should be in prison.

  6. Belizean Pride says:

    awesome, no one should be above the law it must take one minister first and let it be known that it should continue to do the same to other ministers caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

  7. Elgin Martinez says:

    Geovannie is doing a better job than the PM.

  8. Georgie says:

    The love of money is the root of all evil. Did you see people shouting, protecting Penner?

  9. Elgin Martinez says:

    I would definitely go to combat under your command Geovannie.You seems to be more loyal to our Constitution than our Leaders.

  10. CEO says:

    I like the work of the COLA and all those kept up the pressure that forced him into court. Now a word to the ones seeking prosecution now that they too need to keep their heads above the fray because “the same knife that stab hog stab cow” and we the people are tired of corruption.

    Good work!

  11. Laura says:

    Belize is too friggin corrupted to have any organization taking shit in their hands to get down on anyone. What is the use of police if you have random people taking the law into their own hands? it is sad and this should get more attention because Belize is no good!!!

  12. alberto lagos says:

    then what happens,is umbelievable that this guy just get $2,000 bail did you see the big smile on his face, you stole a pack of bread and partner you will be on jail for a long time,but this madafaya sold BELIZEAN identity and also lied.I dont know how this kind of people is called “HONORABLE” REALLY? we have a serious problem people.GOD help us.

  13. Ali BaBarrow protects his 40 says:

    Don’t worry Elvin, Ali has your pardon ready, and the courts won’t cross him. All the thieves work for Ali, one way or the other.

    JUST- do not rat out Ali.
    ANY thing is forgiven, but that.

    You know, blood oath to Ali, like the small time gangs, same rules for the big time gang,
    Once you are in, you cannot leave. You sold your soul, no way out, just wait for that pardon.
    The enemies can’t recall you, they have no power. Hang and shut up.

    Soon Bert Vasquez trial, everyone will forget about your corruption.
    He is being fattened up as the scape goat for Belize’s evil corruption.
    Then he will take all our sins away.



  15. Canadian says:

    I support Penner 100%
    The Belize citizenship & Passport is a worthless piece of paper that can only be used to get as far as Chetumal or Merida.
    Charmin toilet paper is more valuable.
    Penner sold citizenship to a millionaire who would have spent a fortune if he ever got to Belize.
    What about all those Dirt Poor Guatemalans & Salvadorians who got citizenship from the other ministers.
    All they do is take away Jobs From Belizeans.

  16. the voice says:

    Sorry about what I said about Honorable Penner. I forgoth he gave me my citizenship. Thank you Mr. Penner. Sorry about your wife but you could do better.

  17. Joe Blank says:

    The crime here is that Belize’s Justice System is AWOL while part-time justices are at work. Say what? What kind of country have we allowed Belize to become? Those of us who are neutrals have stood by, neutered, as the politicians have gutted our institutions, to lay the foundation for unpunished corruption. Those of us who are partisans/tribalist, have forgotten that our loyalty to country super-cedes our loyalty to party. Those of us (and that’s most of us) who lay this on the politicos need to take a hard look at ourselves. After all, a whore (politician) can only behave like a whore. Citizens should be citizens and nothing less (cowards).

  18. mitor says:

    Kudos to COLA no-one is above the law. But I will make sure that they do the same with ALL other ministers and future ministers, or else I will sue them….

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