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#353080 - 10/02/09 12:17 AM Mayor Moya and City Council finance dept. arrested
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And I thought the PUP had issues....

Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
Mayor of Belize City charged with twenty-four counts

It had been brewing for some time and today it became blatantly public, the open war between the duly elected City Mayor and the Prime Minister in what is the first internal political crisis to hit the government and the U.D.P. Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers was hauled this morning before the courts and if you are wondering what happened next, in true Moya fashion, she was back at City Hall running things. PM Dean Barrow has not been heard from, he is recovering from dengue and a bad back. Back in July, the PM first announced that arrests were to be made at City Hall for financial irregularities. Today it happened, but it was more of a spectacle and a show with heavy police presence that did not bear out the allegations by Financial Controller Patrick Tillett, that two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars are unaccounted for. Instead, the Mayor, dressed in black and white, not in her traditional red, along with three financial officers were charged with twenty-two counts of Uttering False Documents, in this case, seventy dollars for fuel, and two counts of violating of City Council regulations. Marion Ali has a full report in today’s unprecedented political developments.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The Mayor was transported to the Queen Street Police Station by her lead defense attorney, Michael Peyrefitte, shortly after ten this morning. She was accompanied by the City Administrator, Dr. Kiran Vanjani and the City’s Administrative Assistant, Kiran Bhudrani.

Shortly after, the fourth person to be charged, Dwain Davis, arrived and met his attorney, Dickie Bradley at the Crimes Investigations Branch. Across the street a mixed crowd gathered to see the Mayor being transported to the Magistrate’s Court by police. They escorted her through the back entrance while outside the Magistrate Court building a crowd larger than on Queen Street waited. Even the number of police officers assigned to guard the court’s front door was larger than usual.

After Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie read her twenty-two counts of Uttering a False Document for fuel receipts of seventy dollars each and adjourned the matter, Mayor Moya Flowers emerged from the courtroom in battle form.

Zenaida Moya, Belize City Mayor

“This is clearly political. From the fact they have been trying to say in the media that monies are missing or unaccounted for and the charges are not. They have brought up procedural matters to say that okay this is what they’re gonna bring against us – procedural matters, administrative matters. Now if you’re gonna say that myself, as the elected official, the Mayor of Belize City, should be held accountable, I must know everything that is happening under my watch, does that mean then that when it comes to the matter of the Treasury, will the Minister of Finance be charged? Will he be charged? When it comes to the K.H.M.H. issue, will the Minister of Health be charged? When it comes to the border management, will the Minister responsible for border management, the Minister of Tourism be charged? And this list will go on. When it comes to lands with all these things, Works, all the Ministries; every single thing, will the Minister be charged then because they are elected officials just like myself.

The Mayor was also emphatic that she is innocent.

Zenaida Moya Flowers

“As the Mayor of Belize City, I have workers working under me and I expect that as administrators, as workers they do their work. I am not over anyone of them, telling them what to do. That is not my way of management. I let them work. I was a former public officer, I was a former head of department, I’ve never been over my workers watching them, but at the end of the day I expect them to do their work. Now to bring these foolishness and to say because I’m the elected official and my portfolio is finance, then I’m to be held responsible?”

But after all the allegations of over quarter million dollars unaccounted for, why is the Mayor only facing twenty-two counts for uttering false documents for seventy dollar fuel receipts?

Zenaida Moya Flowers

“Everybody knows that I do not have a cozy relationship with the Prime Minister, with the leader of the party. They know that fully well. This is not something new man. This is something that we all know from the convention. Zenaida is not somebody that is a puppet. We all that know I am not a puppet. Everybody know that Zenaida dah noh wah puppet. And from the convention day they wanted to ensure that I was not the mayoral candidate for that party. But the people had their say and the people had their way and I have been elected and I will ensure that I continue serving the people of Belize City. I feel it that somebody doesn’t have balls when they are going to come after me when I’m on my bed delivering a child. That is how foolish it is. When I am delivering a child, I’m on my—they think I’m that weak that I would not have come up? Well you know what? I am a strong woman, everybody knows I am a strong woman and this will play out and they will see that I have done nothing wrong but be a strong woman who will not have anybody just dictate to her and have her like a little girl. I dah noh nobody lee gial.”

Mayor Moya Flowers also said she will remain a U.D.P.

Zenaida Moya Flowers

“Nothing has changed. If the leader—that is one man. He may have some of his minions who will try to discredit me and may not want me to be a part of the party. I don’t see that coming from the rank and file. His minions and him can have whatever their opinion.”

And while she is facing the toughest days of her political career, the mayor is also nursing a son she delivered only twenty days ago.

Zenaida Moya Flowers

“Myself and my baby, we will make it through this. My family will make it through this with the grace of God, with the support of all my supporters, people who believe in me and I believe that justice will prevail and they will see that this is just trumped up, malicious charges; very malicious.”

Mayor Moya was offered bail of fifteen thousand dollars which she met and her case was adjourned until November fifth. Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.


Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
City Council finance dept and mayor make bail

In court this morning, the mayor was read a single criminal charge; twenty-two counts of Uttering a False Document. The charge relates to checks for fuel Paid to Esso Service Center between the months of March and July, which add up to a meager seventy dollars. The City Council’s Financial Director, Dwain Davis, and City Administrator Kiran Vanjani, were each read similar charges for checks made out in the month of March and also totaling seventy dollars. This afternoon they returned to court at two o’clock to allow the Mayor’s Lead Defense Attorney, Michael Peyrefitte, time to argue discrepancies on the charge sheet. When that was settled, Mayor Moya Flowers, Davis, and the fourth CitCo employee being charged, Kiran Bhudrani, were jointly charged with two counts each of Failure to Comply with the Belize City Council Regulations. It is alleged that the three were in violation of City Council regulations number sixteen and twenty-six when they allowed cash payments of over fifty dollars between April eighth and twenty-ninth of this year. Prosecutor in the case, Sergeant Egbert Castillo, indicated that no pleas would be taken because the matter is being dealt with on indictment. There were no objections to bail, which was granted as follows: for their twenty-four counts Moya Flowers, Davis and Vanjani were granted bail of fifteen thousand dollars each while Bhudrani must pay three thousand since she is only charged with two counts. All four are due back in court on November fifth.


Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
Mayor’s attorney implies the charged add up to nothing

Just after the arraignment, defense lawyers began challenging the merits of the charges. Lead attorney, Michael Peyrefitte was quick to point out that they hold no water since the charges do not exist in law and there is no official legislation or regulation which states that payments of more than fifty dollars have to be approved by the financial controller.

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead Defense Attorney, Mayor Moya Flowers

“The charge sheets that I have been given in my hands speak nothing to two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. What I have in front of me is a charge that does not exist in law. And the next thing is that I have on another charge of the particulars of the charge which also have restrictions which do not exist in law. She’s charged additionally with the uttering, she’s charged with violation of section twenty-three six of the Belize City Council Act chapter eighty five of the laws of Belize, revised 2000. But in the revised 2000 chapter eighty-five Belize City Council Act, there is no such section as twenty three subsection six. So the Crown had asked for an adjournment for two o’clock this afternoon to clarify.”

“Secondly, there is the mention of the violation of the City Council Regulations pursuant to the fifty dollar limit. We are contending that that is not a valuable charge as there is no official legislation or regulation which states that over fifty dollars the City Council have to get approval from some financial controller. It’s not an official regulation and so it is not an offense known to the law if you were to violate, so to speak, that amount of money. The matters of Uttering the False Documents is an indictable offence so it’s possible for them to be heard indictably. The prosecution indicated to the court that that is how they want to go and therefore that is how the magistrate is going.”

“What was passed into law was an Act which states that the Minister of Local Government can appoint a financial controller and the Minister of Local Government can then give directives as to regulations or parameters within which that financial controller can operate. There’s no such thing in the regulation which says or in no Act which mentions any fifty dollars. It is not present anywhere on anything that can be considered legislation. We have gone through the most punishing aspect of it, the police, the Magistrate’s Court, the bail and now what we have to do is just look at what evidence comes and then when the evidence comes we’ll make our arguments as to whether the charges are valid or not. I can say that based on everything she has a good case.”


Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
U.D.P. issues statement about mayor’s case

As we said earlier, this is the worst internal crisis within the U.D.P. and the government; one in which the most powerful elected woman is saying she is hunted by the most powerful man in her own party. A wounded tiger, the Mayor, had her say this morning and she was ferocious about the Prime Minister. No one from the U.D.P. would go on camera but the party this afternoon, issued a statement, and attempting magnanimity, it said that “a vital step to restoring responsible governance is to hold our own elected representatives accountable for how they govern and manage the people’s resources”. But according to the U.D.P., the party is saddened by the news of charges brought against one of its elected officials. The U.D.P. also announced it was meeting this Saturday to decide on any further course of action. So does this leave the door open for possible sanctions? Insiders say that the party is split on the charges against Zenaida Moya Flowers.


Originally Posted By: Channel 5 Belize
Former U.D.P. minister fires back in mayor’s defense

But one man who is not holding back, is a former U.D.P. Minister who is now one of Moya’s attorneys. Hubert Elrington gave us his take.

Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers

“The twenty-two charges of uttering, the charges are not even known to law, they don’t even exist in law. It shows you the malicious and worthless nature of the people that are setting up this. We are going to be moving to have all of these charges in relation to uttering thrown out on the ground that they are not known to law. They are inventing something. This is an invention and I have ten times more experience than any of them in the criminal courts, at least ten times; from Barrow right down.”

Marion Ali
“The allegations were that Zenaida thief quarter million, under-deposit, di money missing.”

Hubert Elrington
“Yes, I had expected them to put up or shut up. Today they come with some nonsense wasting the people time, disrespecting the country, disrespecting the mayor, making the country look really, really bad. We call this political cannibalism. In 2009 people are involving themselves in political cannibalism to make a point that I am more powerful than you or you are less powerful than me and all these stupid games that they are playing, you understand? That’s why the country is in a mess. Look at the killings, look at the amount of killings. You don’t even see Perdomo. So we are going to be taking the appropriate steps and we are going to be taking the appropriate action and the mayor and the city manager and the rest of them will be properly advised. They will not make any legal misstep because we think that what is happening here is a massive abuse of power on the part of the government. It’s a massive and shameful, disgraceful abuse of the judicial system on the part of the government of Belize and we are going to show that we are correct in making that assessment. It shows you the malicious and evil nature of some people and I have said that Esquivel faction, Net Vasquez—and I know what I am talking about. It’s Net Vasquez, it’s Esquivel and it’s Barrow. Those are the people that undermined and destroyed the United Democratic Party and the dream of Goldson cannot be realized. The dream of people like myself and Aikman cannot be realized because they are penny pinchers, they have no respect for the little man and they think they understand finances and the only man that really understand finance in that group was the Castillo who they were working for or who try and help them out. You know SanCas? That was the man with the brain.”

Live and let live

#353122 - 10/02/09 10:58 AM Re: Mayor Moya and City Council finance dept. arrested [Re: Short]
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No Cojones…says Mayor Moya

“I feel that somebody doesn’t have balls when they are going to come after me when I am on my bed delivering a child.”Mayor Zenaida Moya outside Courtroom

The big story…

At 9:30am this morning, Mayor Zenaida Moya and three of her employees, City Administrator Kiran Vanjani, Financial Administrator Dwain Davis and Kiran Budhrani were taken to the Scene of Crimes Unit at the Queen Street Police Station and arrested, fingerprinted and photographed. From there they were taken over to the Magistrate’s Court, where Mayor Moya was charged with 2 counts of failure to comply with City Council Accounting Regulations and 22 counts of uttering a false document. Her employees were similarly charged, except for Budhrani who was charged only with 2 counts of failure to comply with City Council Accounting Regulations. They were all offered and met bail.

The bigger story…

A lot of Belizeans have been left with mouths open at the anti-climactic, bubble bursting nature of today’s spectacle. After the explosive audit of a few weeks ago revealed that more than a quarter of a million dollars had gone missing from the Council, and all blame seemed to rest squarely on the shoulders of the Mayor, cries of ‘thief, thief’ went out all over the country. After all - misappropriation, mismanagement and corruption were not words uncommon around mention of the Mayor. So for many people, the ‘poco-tiempo’ charges thrown at the Mayor for vouchers amounting to about $1500 when so much money is still missing just does not add up. There is a feeling of betrayal, a feeling that maybe we were set up and maybe there was never any real political will to have the Mayor answer for her crimes. People still believe that the Mayor stole the money – they just feel let down with the realization that more than likely the Mayor will never face real justice.

The biggest story…

But with all the political machinations behind the scenes and today’s anti-climactic episode, the biggest news is that Mayor Moya came out swinging against the Prime Minister of Belize and her political boss, Dean Barrow. According to Moya, Barrow has ‘no balls’ to come after her when she was still bed-ridden after giving birth. While the animosity between Moya and Barrow has certainly been no secret, this open warfare is nothing short of explosive. Moya made some very derogatory and insulting comments against Barrow, accusing him of being afraid of her and being spineless. She is also saying that Dean Barrow is a liar and a master manipulator who has ‘arranged’ the ‘trumped-up’ charges against her. Sources within the UDP are saying that Zenaida may have gone too far in openly attacking Barrow and telling the nation that he has no balls. Those sources have also told us that on Saturday at the meeting of the UDP National Party Council, Zenaida Moya will be expelled from the UDP.

And underneath all the games…

There is still money missing from the Council, more than a quarter of a million dollars. The DPP has proclaimed that these charges against the Mayor are just the tip of the iceberg, but in her term the DPP has done absolutely nothing to inspire the confidence of Belizeans so nobody is taking her seriously. In the mean-time, things are falling apart at the Council. The coffers are empty, there is open hatred of the Mayor; basic services have not only been neglected but have been ignored completely. The crisis with the sanitation companies has been left in the hands of the boy-genius Phillip Willoughby, who has offered suggestions like selling the Commercial Center, selling City Hall or nationalizing BML. The war between the Prime Minister and the Mayor bodes ill for Belizean residents, who can now be doubly assured that central government will not step in to lend a helping hand any time soon. So to make a long story short, while the Mayor sleeps tonight on satin sheets in her seafront mansion, little the worse for wear after her ordeal today, poor Belizeans are wondering how they will be able to put food on the table for their families tomorrow.

The Mayor and her three employees are set to re-appear in Court on November 5th.

Live and let live

#353226 - 10/03/09 01:15 AM Re: Mayor Moya and City Council finance dept. arrested [Re: Short]
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Zenaida Will Face National Party Council

Yesterday, Mayor Zenaida Moya gave one of the most remarkable political performances in recent recall when she emerged from the courtroom where she had been assessed with 24 charges letting off with a snarling, fiery political invective. She accused the party leader and Prime Minister of carrying out a personal agenda against her and of victimizing her when she was nursing her newborn child.

Well, moya isn’t the only one that’s angry; she ticked off a lot of party higher up’s with that bravura performance – and tomorrow the entire situation will be reviewed by the party’s top brass at a national party council meeting. 7News is informed that Moya will be asked to appear to defend herself before the party executive. While no formal proposal has been tabled to propose her expulsion – we can confirm that the idea is very live in the UDP and that matter will likely be put on the table at the Saturday morning meeting.

And while that matter is pending, so is Mayor Moya’s status at City Hall. As she said she would, she’s gone back to her office at City Hall but now the Ministry of Labour and Local Government is telling her that she cannot stay there. And it’s not because she’s being suspended or anything like that; it’s because according to Belize’s labour laws, new mothers must take maternity leave of at least 7 weeks after a child is born. It’s the law which says that that leave is mandatory, not optional for all new mothers.

The sitting council – which comprises the ten councillors including the Deputy Mayor has been apprised of this. But it appears Mayor Moya has not gotten the memo as she called for a meeting of the council this morning, but according to our sources – it could not be held – because a sufficient majority of the councillors have taken the position of the Ministry of Labor which is that she is not validly holding the mayor’s chair at this time.

Even more complications, but one man who isn’t in on this one is Phillip Willoughby; the councillor with responsibility for sanitation today confirmed that he has dengue.

Live and let live


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