The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act was signed in 2001, ratified in 2003 and is being referenced in 2020 as part of the Lev Dermen saga. Caribbean Shores Representative, Kareem Musa, via a letter, is calling on the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to invoke this Act. According to Musa, the Government can attempt to obtain the text messages between Jacob Kingston and John Saldivar through this means. Musa explained to the media what it would mean to invoke the Act, adding that the PM and the AG are in dereliction of their duties for not having explored this option.
Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores: “What we are saying now is that under the mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act the central authority who is the Attorney General of Belize the Honorable Michael Peyrefitte has a duty to request from the United States, because we now know as of Thursday last week we had been hearing rumors but we now know as part of the court docket in the Lev Dermen case that there were text messages between a sitting member of government, the Honorable John Saldivar and I believe Jacob Kingston I believe that is the Kingston who he shared text messages with. And so we need to find out because if this is part of a case, if this is part of a criminal case that this evidence will be one of the strands that are used to be pieced together in order to convict, to prosecute and convict Lev Dermen for defrauding the IRS of some $500 million dollars then what that tells us is that perhaps and probably the monies were sent to personalities in Belize and if that text message has anything to do with that we the Belizean people need to know the contents of those text messages, if there are wire transfers we need proof of those wire transfers if they form part of the evidence. Remember now, we only saw one page of the docket but if there are other documents including proof of wire transfers the Belizean people deserve to know. On the last occasion I believe it was on Friday the Prime Minister sent out a press release in which he said that ‘we cannot access that information. I went to the Charge d affairs at the US embassy and we cannot access that information.’ that as you know now Jules, is a blatant lie because under this act he is and the Attorney General is allowed to contact the central authority in the United States that being the Attorney General of the United States to request the documents, the official records that are in this case and it does not matter that the case is ongoing or is about to start this document and these documents can be released even at this very early stage of the trial in the United States.”
The media asked Musa if he is confident that the US will give Belize access to the documents. Musa stated that Belize is privy to them in order to investigate local crimes that may be revealed in the messages. He also stated that swift action needs to be taken since John Saldivar has his eyes on the UDP’s party leader position.
Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores: “Under article 5.4 it states ‘If the Central Authority of the requested state determines that execution of a request would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, prosecution or proceeding in that state it may postpone execution or make execution subject to conditions determined to be necessary after consultations with the Central Authority of the requesting state.’. So there would actually be a communication initiated by this request from the Attorney General, they would then discuss whether or not the release of this text message, this wire transfer, whether or not it would interfere. Again to repeat what I said earlier we are not going to criminally prosecute or investigate anybody in Belize for defrauding the IRS, that is their case they are dealing with that. What we are looking here in Belize is whether any offense was committed on Belizean soil. If the evidence comes out, which I suspect it will in the form of documentary evidence we will then demand the Commissioner of Police Chester Williams to take investigative action against the parties who received this money, who received this $25,000 US a month and who received other funds from Lev Dermen because those are proceeds of crime being used in Belize. We’re talking about someone who is vying for the highest position in this land whose name has been called and so he should be the first person if he’s innocent of everything he should be the first person to say ‘I will go to Utah myself and I will go in front of a judge and I will prove my innocence.’ He has a February 9th convention, imagine that and the day after the 10th he’s supposed to become our Prime Minister but yet there is all this cloud of controversy over him and he can’t even talk to the media. The Prime Minister first and foremost has a duty to this nation. Worry bout your legacy afterwards, worry bout your party afterwards but your duty right now is to this nation and you have a clear duty, you and your Attorney General because both of them have given interviews on this topic saying they can’t access nothing, both of them have a duty to this nation right now. So if they don’t even want to do this I would imagine they don’t plan on postponing any convention, they don’t have that in mind because they seem perfectly fine that this man’s name who has been called has not been able to give an interview too the media. We’re going to take legal action in the form of a mandamus in the Supreme Court of Belize because we find that this is a gross dereliction of their duty and that we will go to a Supreme Court to compel them to act.”
As stated in the letter, the AG, Michael Peyrefitte, has until January 31 to respond. Peyrefitte noted that he is yet to receive the letter.