It is the third politician to be charged with criminal offences by the U.D.P. government in this term. But on Thursday, it will be the first time in history that a serving Mayor, a female at that, will be paraded to the Queen Street Police Station to be processed and taken to court to hear her charges. But Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers will not be the only one facing the music. Three senior members of her finance team will also be arraigned on criminal charges. All heads of the Finance Department, including the City Administrator, Dr. Kiran Vanjani, along with Finance Director, Dwain Davis and his Assistant Director, Kiran Bhudrani are due in court. The slew of charges is yet to be confirmed and Mayor Moya Flowersí battery of attorneys has stepped up the ante in her defense. On Tuesday Hubert Elrington had choice words about the prime minister and today Attorney Michael Peyrefitte matter-of-factly told News Five what he expects in the next twenty-four hours.

Michael Peyrefitte, Lead Defense Attorney, Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers
ďMy most important concern is the procedure when we go to meet Mr. Segura at the Queen Street Police Station tomorrow morning at nine-thirty. We have been working out the logistics as to, weíre gonna take the mayor and other people there and meet with Mr. Segura and he is going to do the charge and everything that comes with that. He and I have not yet discussed and he doesnít have to disclose to me at this point what the charges will be so I donít know what the charges are. He has not told me how many charges there are. All he told me was that there are charges for the mayor and so he would appreciate it if I would bring the Mayor there tomorrow morning, nine-thirty. We wonít know what the situation is until we actually see the charge and we have the charge or charges in our hands. So the defense will be based on the charge itself and whatever evidence the Crown brings to support those charges. I donít want to speculate; like I said, I donít even know. I will have a better idea of it when I get the charge sheet and then later on down the road, I get the evidence to supposedly support the charge. But we have to look at all of that first. It may very well be that these charges have nothing to do with under-depositing. It may very well be that they have everything to do with under-depositing. We donít know yet so we have to wait until we get the charges and we get the evidence because we can speculate on invoices and receipts but what if when we go to court, those are not disclosed? Those would be of no holding so it doesnít make any sense to speculate on them. The most important thing right now is for the mayor to know that she will be charged. She will be technically arrested, charged, taken over to court and she will be read charges. I donít know if some of them will be indictable, I donít know if some of them will be summary. I donít know yet. But the number one thing is to get her to the police station tomorrow morning at nine-thirty, go with her to court and to, as quickly as possible, be done with court.Ē

Mayor Issues Press Statement

And tonight finally we have some comment from the Mayor herself who issued a press statement today. It is a lengthy statement –three whole pages, but the central points are first, that no money is missing, the charges are trumped up, and that the attack on her is from the Minister of Finance – Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the leadership of her own party who does not have the support of the party’s rank and file. The release – which is almost one-thousand five-hundred words long – does not once use the term “under-deposits.”

It does however say that all those documents presented by the Mayor to the media on July 14th comprise quotations and estimates, invoices, post-it notes, requisition forms, claim forms and memos with receipts. The release explains that the special auditor refused to confirm those documents as legitimate – which, “is regrettable, as the Finance Department has confirmed that those documents were what they made payments on.”

So that’s it, the proof of how public funds were disbursed in cash is in the form of and we quote, again, “estimates, invoices, post-it notes, requisition forms, claim forms and memos with receipts.”

The release also deals at length with the amended city council regulations which require the council to get permission form the financial controller to make payments greater than fifty dollars. When it was passed, we called it the managing Mayor Moya bill because it was clearly an attempt by central government to reign in what they felt was a rogue mayor.

Well Mayor Moya’s release says that the law, “is both impractical and a slap in the face of a duly elected City Council. The release says that because the mayor resisted this and stood up to the Minister of Finance, “this has caused (him) to declare war on her...” On this subject it concludes that “there has been a public trial of the Mayor and the Belize City Council by rumour and innuendos led by the Minister of Finance and his minion Patrick Tillett.” Thereafter it proceeds to quote scripture.

Serious business and previews of what promises to be a very public war between Moya and the Minister of Finance. The real fireworks begin tomorrow and of course, 7News will be there.