Minister Rene Montero called to explain the appearance of his name in the Auditor General’s report

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Updated: July 12, 2017

The second sitting minister to appear before the committee today was Rene Montero. Montero is the Minister of Works and the Area Representative for Cayo Central. His name appears several times in the nationality audit report. One page 212, the auditor general writes quote, “We also saw a letter, dated 9th January 2012 from the Desk of Hon Rene J. Montero in the Nationality file of Wael Harmouch addressed to Miss Ruth Meighan”. End of quote. In that letter, Montero requested her assistance to facilitate a nationality ceremony for seven individuals. Minister Montero explained his request.

Senator Aldo Salazar
“You familiar with this?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Yes, I am familiar with it.”

Senator Aldo Salazar
“With the letter?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Yes I am familiar with it.”

Senator Aldo Salazar
“Ok. Did it come from you?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Yes it did

Senator Michel Chebat
“Sir what exactly were you asking to be facilitated? Can you specify for us?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Well I was asking for assistance because what happened is that I have an office in Santa Elena, Cayo Central and my officers had told me that he had called immigration office requesting status for certain nationality documents.

Senator Michel Chebat
“And in this particular letter that the Auditor General refers to, there’s a request for seven different individuals, is that correct?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works

Montero: Yes

Senator Michel Chebat
“Could you look at it?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“ Yes.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Yes seven?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Yes.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“And who are those persons Minister?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Well at the time that list as I mentioned before, Immigration had called my office and stated to my secretary that these BNA numbers were ready.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“So this letter was precipitated by a call from the immigration department?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“By a call from the Immigration department.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Do you recall who from the Immigration Department called you?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“No.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“You don’t . And these were for people in your constituency?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“Since it came from Immigration I felt that it was genuine and that these BNA numbers pertain to people in my constituency.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Was Waa’il Harmouch one of your constituents Minister?

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“I don’t know him.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“You don’t know him?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“I don’t know him.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Why would the Auditor General then include him as one of the individuals whom you had requested facilitation for?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“I think you have to refer that question to her. I maintain that I do not know the Harmouch. I have never met him, I have never dealt with them, I have never done any dealings with them directly or indirectly, I have never received any consideration from them, I don’t know them period.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Did you see this report before coming here today?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“ Yes I did.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“Did you at anytime try to clarify with the Auditor General that the statement made by her was inaccurate?”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“No.”

Senator Michel Chebat
“ You have not.”

Rene Montero – Minister of Works
“No.”

Montero is the fourth sitting minister to appear before the Senate Select Committee so far.