Mitchell calls for investigation into Saudi transaction
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Wednesday May 23, 2012 – Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell is calling for a police investigation into what he alleges is a suspicious Saudi Arabian money transfer to a “top government minister”.
Last Sunday, while beleaguered Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was in rural St Andrew in the east of the island, thanking supporters and celebrating his survival in an opposition-led no-confidence motion, the opposition leader was on the west coast, telling a political meeting that Thomas knows which of his ministers is involved in the alleged scandal.
Mitchell claims he has evidence that US$150,000 was wired from Saudi Arabia into an unnamed senior minister’s account.
“I have solid information in my hands of a very top government minister who has collected in his own bank account US$ 150,000,” Mitchell asserted.
He said a cheque for EC$100,000 of the money was paid to another individual whom he described as “a close political friend’’ of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“More than that, and the prime minister knows exactly who that person is, the person wrote an EC$100,000 cheque to a close political friend in the party, and when he was asked what was that money for he said it was legal fees,” Mitchell told a rally of his New National Party (NNP) in the fishing town of Gouyave, just days after he had made the claim in parliament.
The former prime minister said Grenadian law had been broken in the alleged money transaction and he demanded that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Royal Grenada Police Force commence inquiries. Simultaneously, he cast doubt on the crime squad’s independence.
“The money came from Saudi Arabia to the Republic Bank. The FIU is supposed to be an independent body but they are politicians in there,” the opposition leader told supporters.
“But we are giving them a challenge. Show your independence. Deal with … persons who have accepted that he has received that money because that is against the law of the land,” he urged.
Among the functions of the Police FIU are analyses and investigations of “matters arising from suspicious transaction reports, money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes’’.