No charges or jail for Barbados diplomats who stole US$69,000 – transferred to Miami personal bank account!

UPDATED: March 14, 2013

The Nation is reporting Auditor General Leigh Trotman just advised Parliament that ““There was no supporting documentation for accounts receivable of $600 million. There were also inadequate supporting schedules in respect of capital assets of $1.8 billion,”

BFP reminds everyone that it doesn’t matter what our Auditor General says because nobody gets charged or fired anyway – no matter how clear the evidence is against them. Here’s a little news story from 2011 where some Bajan diplomats stole money and transferred it to personal bank accounts in Miami. What happened to these crooked diplomats?

Nothing. That’s what!

Original story…

“But just let the little man take $20 in groceries and see what happens…”

It’s called theft and international money laundering…

Our congratulations to Auditor General Leigh Trotman and his staff for uncovering a nasty little scheme by Bajan diplomats stationed in Venezuela.

Two crooks at the embassy falsely said that monies were being used for embassy business when the only thing going on was monkey business. The funds ended up in Miami through a magical process that is not altogether unknown to Bajan diplomatic elites. 

After getting caught by the Auditor General last May, the diplomats returned the money. Parliament was notified yesterday when the Auditor General’s 2010 report was presented.

A Good Sign that this was reported in the news media

In the old days we would never have heard about this situation, so in one way we’re making progress, however…

Same old, same old as the elites refuse to charge two of their little clique with the theft. Can’t have one of ours behind bars, you know!

But just let the little man take $20 in groceries and see what happens.

Some things never change. One set of rules for us, and another set of rules for them.

Further Reading

Here’s the story from Barbados Today. Please attend at their website to read the story – it’s only fair – even though we’ll reprint the entire thing here because you never know when Bajan news media will change history…

Undiplomatic conduct

2011-04-13

Audit of barbados’ embassy in venezuela uncovers ‘serious’ misuse of funds

A special audit of Barbados’ Embassy in Venezuela has uncovered several “serious” operational breaches involving the misappropriation of state funds.

And in the wake of the discovery of the misuse of more than $174,000, including the transfer of the majority of that amount by an officer into a personal bank account in Miami, Auditor General Leigh Trotman is urging Government to take disciplinary action against “a senior official” posted there, seek recovery of misused funds, and improve its internal controls governing the use of foreign currency, among other measures.

The infractions, which were discovered after Barbadian auditors journeyed to Venezuela and reviewed the embassy’s accounting system between May 10 and 14 last year, were disclosed in the Auditor General’s 2010 report laid in the House of Assembly yesterday.

They involved the misuse of US $69,213 in foreign currency by two officers of the embassy, who applied to and received these funds from the Venezuelan State Agency by wrongly stating the money would be used to represent Barbados on official business overseas.

Worse than that, the money was deposited into personal bank accounts in Miami. While acknowledging that the US$69,213 misappropriated was “subsequently refunded in Venezuelan currency”, Trotman said this “does not negate the serious nature of this offence”.

“These transactions did not relate to any official Government business and represent a misuse of an official position to further private interests,” the official stated.

“Then deception used in applying for funds when not scheduled to travel could have brought the good image of Barbados into disrepute and should be treated in a serious manner,” he advised.

Trotman said the infringements were so serious that under the Public Service Act they “could result in the dismissal of the offending person”.

Other reported breaches involved refunds for personal expenses totalling more than $20,000 without the permission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the “inappropriate” use of courier services to purchase computers and printers from the United States costing the embassy more than $5,000.

Additionally, the Auditor General said it was discovered that a lease to secure a house as the official residence of the Barbados Ambassador to Venezuela had been signed without the permission of authorities in Bridgetown, there was no “formal contract” between the Embassy and its landlord for the rental of the diplomatic office, and that there were some staff members working for Barbados there who did not have “the necessary security clearance” from Venezuelan authorities.

“The mission’s finances were not properly managed during the two year period reviewed. Furthermore, a senior official committed serious breaches of Financial Instructions (Overseas Missions). These breaches resulted in misappropriation of Government funds,” the Auditor General said.

“In keeping with the code of discipline outlined in the Public Service Act 2007-41 appropriate disciplinary proceedings should be instituted.”

The special audit was ordered by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who, in discussion with the Audit Office voiced concern “over the financial management practices at the Embassy involving the use of the mission’s bank account”.

“There was concern that the Mission’s funds were used to purchase foreign currency reportedly for overseas travel on official duties even though no travel was undertaken. Concern was also expressed over reports of verbal instructions to a member of the accounts staff to alter the accounting records in a manner that would conceal the foreign currency transactions,” Trotman revealed.

Fears of irregularities were confirmed when the embassy’s books were examined.

The most serious of these related to the misuse of Government funds, specifically the purchase of foreign currency. Trotman said action needed to be taken “in order to prevent a recurrence of this situation”.

He therefore recommended that “written instructions should be issued to the Barbados Embassy in Venezuela specifying the circumstances in which applications for foreign currency would be allowed”. (SC)

33 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Politics, Venezuela

33 responses to “No charges or jail for Barbados diplomats who stole US$69,000 – transferred to Miami personal bank account!

  1. diplomacy

    This entire event was covered up by the Foreign Ministry and the two persons involved were transferred as the usual Public Service punishment instead of being fired.

  2. what will they think of next

    who were the two?
    names please!

  3. 175

    Names will never be told, only little people like you & I will be dragged before the courts and sent to “Dodds”. What a sad tail, with no real surprises.

  4. Undertaker

    The Auditor General has been doing a great job it seems he is really earning his keep, sadly thougth he is being setup to fai. I gov’t (any in power) really wanted things changed and improvements made then they would give his job more teeth and enable him to go direct to the Director of Public Prosecutions and not hiding behind a ministry of minister to enable them to aid out their friends and supporters when they steal and “mis appropriate” public funds.

  5. Undertaker

    wrote it a little sleepy forgive the typos.

  6. De Original

    This situation is ridiculous the individuals involved including the Ambassador should be charged with Theft from and Conspiracy to Defraud the Government of Barbados.

  7. Grabbler

    Under whose watch did this occur pray tell me. Who will be charged any other lepers around?
    Things real hard and people dont even have money to buy mauby bark far less a tin of cornbeef and two packs of eclipse biscuits. Please hungry poor people ask or beg don’t take cause you will be made a public example regardless of your situation.
    Where are the arms of Justice Mr Anthony George, will it be a verdict of guilty as charged?
    Time and history will tell the tale.

  8. Johnny Postle

    Barbados Free Press I know it is not nice to be profance but Gaw Blimah permit me to pelt a few r-holes at this one. When will the public stand up against tyranny and protection at all cost of the status quo. When will we f-ing protest against the practice of two laws where one penalises the small poor man and the other says its alright he is some one important we just give him a slap on the wrist punishment and let him go to live his life in lavish. Gaw Blimah two persons commit a crime and these stinking crabs we got as administrators will do a cover up instead of a lock up and fired. I hearby declare that all public servants who are honest and hard working trying to make a decent living in these hard times and by honest means seek to steal from crown at all cost because if the big up can do it so can u. Remember too Honest too Poor.

  9. what will they think of next

    nobody don’t know who they are? names, names,

  10. Weston

    These two must stand trial. Returning the stolen funds was an admission of guilt. That’s OUR money they were playing with.

  11. St George's Dragon

    From the Nation article:
    “Efforts yesterday to reach Major Charles Brathwaite, the ambassador in charge at the embassy during the period of the special audit, proved unsuccessful. He was recalled to Barbados March last year.”

  12. St George's Dragon

    Also interesting to see that some of your posters had wind of this over a year ago:
    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/shameful-but-legal-corruption-by-barbados-coastal-zone-management-unit-director-leo-brewster/
    Look at comments from Love and Wondering.

  13. rhubarb

    Remember a few years ago a little problem of drugs in the Diplomatic Bag? I can’t remember the result of that investigation!

  14. J. Payne

    Corruption (my word) or the apperence of financial irregularities were found, so they should face charges. The return of money does not negate that an alleged illegal act may have taken place. I don’t want to see Barbados end up like *******. Therefore, let those who may have been involved be placed under oath and explain who may have known whatever, or who may have been involved in whatever. As far as it seems, I don’t suspect “diplomatic immunity” ( https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Diplomatic_immunity ) would cover them?

  15. J. Payne

    Now I’m aware the Barbadian Embassy in Venezuela posses diplomatic accreditation to other places but, what if anything goes on at this post??? Is there anything to substantiate it?

    Barbados isn’t a member of PetroCaribe or ALBA (or so we are told), nor Bank of the South, so what(???) substantiates keeping this post? As oppose to opening an office elsewhere in Latin America which might be more strategic? I would suspect this office might not be doing all that much business, which is why they were caught doing such large and potentially questionable transactions…

    Furthermore, the greedy government in Venezuela has in the past claimed parts of Barbados’ maritime areas for themselves. [https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/venezuela-claims-two-blocks-of-barbados-offshore-oil/]

    There’s already a resident Venezuelan Embassy down Hastings so if we need to “reach them” we can. But what do we need right now from Venezuela?

  16. Happens Regularly

    This is not the first time that financial irregularities have happened at a Barbados Diplomatic Mission abroad. People there say it happens all the time. Only this time Mr. Trotman caught them.

  17. I KNOW THE MAN

    The Ambassador involved in this scam is Charles Brathwaite. ( Please NOTE the title of MAJOR was stripped from him for unbecoming conduct towards the current Chief of Staff of the BDF ) This is the same Charles Bratwaite who was the former Principal Training Officer who was removed from that position by the Owen Arthur Administration for commiting finacial irregularities. ( The Nationnews paper HIGHLIGHTED some those issues at the time )
    Interestingly , he carried out the same modus operandi in this recent scam.
    i.e Bullying staff to alter the accounting system.
    Unauthorised use of the Gov’t of Barbados credit card system
    The unauthorised purchase of computer equipment…that at the time ended at his residence in Salters St. George.

    It is said ” NO MATTER HOW HARD THE RAIN MAY FALLS…….IT WILL NEVER WASH AWAY THE SPOTS OF……A LEOPARD “

  18. Johnny Postle

    Ok Government of Barbados, what’s it gonna be: LOCK UP OR COVER UP?

  19. cover up

    Johnny Postle it will be cover up like all the other cases of theft and financial misconduct in diplomatic embassies overseas.

  20. cover up

    So although the Government is crying out about victimisation by OECD the Government’s Diplomatic Embassies are doing money laundering. Why the false tears? An investigation should happen about other Embassies because Glyne Murray and Estuko Anderson in Ottawa among others had many clouds over their heads.

  21. The Watcher

    The Auditor General (A.G), not to be confused with the Attourney General for the purposes of this post, is simply nothing more than a “patsy”. You know how much theft of government funds goes unpunished by the A.G? They just softly and quietly move people around with a slap on the wrist if your party isn’t the one currently in power, or a pat on the back if it is. It’s that simple. No accountability.
    There are many projects that fall through the cracks and no one is made to account for the monies that are spent.If a project is shut down or indefinitely delayed, it is as if its just lost or forgotten and all that happened to it previously just goes away quietly with it to rest in peace in history. And it seems to be an equal opportunity activity these days with many senior female government officials getting into the act too.
    Lets start by getting rid of the A.G who’s useless, and locking these thieves up. A good baseline to work from is governments’ last failed or suspended project. Follow the money, and jail the bastards.

  22. PTango

    There has never been anyone charged as a result of the Auditor General’s work. That says everything.

  23. Tony Webster

    22 comments- the majority valid. However, only one gives a name, all the rest are offered under nom-de-plumes. Those who are sworn to uphold the law, and have the responsibnility and the means to eradicate this cancer on our society, are well aware that they can easily deal with the one who would stand on the sidewalk on Bay Street, with a placard, denouncing the total abdication of their duty. If it were 1,001 placards, we would see immediate action. Or at the very least…talk of action. What’s that again about belling the cat?

  24. Willie and Rib Bone

    Me and Willie been parusin’ dis talk and we thinkin’ dat we be well sooted to be joinin da govment of BIM ’cause we got over the sea experence since we went to the UK tryin to chase down dat ho Rihanna and we also get experence at flim flammery, rum drinkin, cigar smokin and chasin of womens. Hoo we got to talk wit ’bout dese jobs? Somebody here go to know hoo we connect wit and what da goin’ rate be and where da rebaiting [kickback] moneys got to be sent to. Da sooner da better we here on dis ’cause we bout out of walkin round money.
    Respekful from your embassaders at large to be so long as it ain’t where da cold wether is,
    Willie and Rib Bone

  25. Bajan Abroad

    Dey tief the PEOPLES money not de Crown Money. Any money de crown got come from de people. Crowns doan mek money dem is tek it from we!

  26. just want to know

    We know the people who stole the investors money from CLICOI have they been locked up yet or even brought to court? They move around in Barbados, & other parts of the world, millionaires while the little people are suffering. Madof, Sanford, and others are behind bars in America & other countries, but in these little islands, only little people go to jail, & if you are a friend of the politicians no jail sentence for you ever.

  27. St George's Dragon

    @ The Watcher
    Forgive me if I have read your post wrongly – I believe you are criticising the Auditor General for not punishing wrongdoing but I may have misunderstood and got the wrong AG – perhaps you meant Attorney General?
    I think we should be congratulating the Auditor General for exposing these public sector scandals. Most people in public office, as you say, ignore wrongdoing and at most move people to another post where potentailly they can do the same again. The Auditor General seems pretty fearless in publishing his findings and I applaud that, as I imagine he comes under serious political pressure to say nothing.
    The problem is with dealing with the wrongdoers.
    The Auditor General has no mandate to implement his recommendations; it is the Government’s job to do that. His job is to highlight issues requiring attention to Parliament and to recommend actions to Government organisations.
    The fault lies with those who do nothing to address the Auditor General’s findings, so Ministers, MPs, senior civil servants, the Attorney General, the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions. At the head is the Prime Minister. If there is to be any change, it is FS who can make things happen. He should use his new mandate from the electorate to clean up Government.

  28. Rastaman

    @ST Georges Dragon:.Then he might have no Government Ministers.

  29. St George's Dragon

    @ Rastaman
    Someone has to do the right thing.

  30. Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Now now people do not get carried away. The fruendel Stuart administration are an honest bunch. Ten times better than that crooked 14 year lot whom we vehmenently chastise for infelicious activity and false reporting. This democratic labour party is the epitomy of transparency and integrity. I mean what could be compared to the big thiefing a few years ago that the auditor general reported concerning cost overruns on a roof at the Oistins Fish Market that resulted in a known PS being locked out of his ministry and punished with the punishementt of a transfer. I think the little thiefing rat went on to become PS of the Civil Service. I mean up to this date he ain’t get over the psychological impact a transfer has on ones psychy. There are no injustices in this story, just STANDARD OPERATIONAL F…KING PROCEDURE AND IT’S AS COMMON PLACE AS COU COU IS TO FLYING FISH.

  31. Rastaman

    @Sunshine Sunny Shine: You need to wake up and smell the roses.All the same

  32. Well Well

    I always wondered what happened to the Barbados Consulate in Venezuela case, everyone in Bim knows the names of the two involved. Who is going to do anything?? look at the Clico debacle, the accused leroy parris is always accompanied by the PM stuart, you really see Stuart unless Parris is hovering in the background, as though they are joined at the hip. It just makes a mockery of everything.

  33. Rastaman

    And what about Stinckler ???