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Local Contractor Called before the Commission Of inquiry

He is the local contractor who managed to borrow sixty-five thousand dollars from a Chinese businessman, no questions asked, and then turned around and loan it to the former Deputy Prime Minister of this country, interest-free.

He is the local contractor who managed to borrow sixty-five thousand dollars from a Chinese businessman, no questions asked, and then turned around and loan it to the former Deputy Prime Minister of this country, interest-free. The mysterious Juvencio Peter Herrera was today’s first witness to appear before the Commission of Inquiry. Herrera is the man who financially assisted former Lands Minister and DPM Hugo Patt with sixty-five thousand dollars to purchase his government-assigned 2020 Toyota Tacoma before the general elections in November 2020. He is the crucial link between Patt and Zhou Rong “Kelvin Li” who now owns some thirty-six parcels of land across the country, the majority located on La Isla Bonita, San Pedro. According to Herrera, he became familiar with Patt in 2019 through Ivan Leiva, the former Deputy Commissioner of Lands. In fact, after almost two years of knowing each other, Herrera told the Commission that he offered to assist Patt who was expressing that he wanted to purchase the vehicle but was financially unable to do so. So, Herrera asked Kelvin Li for the money. Li, strangely enough, loan the money to Herrera, without asking who it was for and its purpose. The Commission finds it difficult to believe that Patt and Li did not know about each other.

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “I assisted Mr.Patt in acquiring that vehicle sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “Have you ever had possession of that vehicle ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Have you ever driven it ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Do you know what it looks like ?”

pm Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “Yes sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Yes ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “From the outside.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “From the outside what about from the inside?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Never been inside it?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “Never been inside.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Whom did you borrow it from ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “From Mr.Kelvin Lee sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “And what were the terms of that loan ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “It was just a verbal agreement that I should pay him back within three months.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Pay back within three months, any interest ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Did you tell Mr.Lee what the money was needed for ? That you would be lending it to Minister Hugo Patt ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir I didn’t tell him and he didn’t ask me so I never disclosed that to him.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “How was it repaid ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “Cash.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “You delivered the cash to Mr.Lee ? “

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “Yes sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “And from where did you get the cash ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “I made an arrangement through Mr.Ivan Leiva to make him make someone sell the vehicle for me. Sometime in late January he informed me that he had the cash because the vehicle had been sold and he took it to Roaring Creek for me.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “He took the cash to Roaring Creek to you and how did you get the cash to Mr.Lee ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:   “Well I brought it to Belize City for him to his office.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Did anyone witness the delivery of this cash ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “Did you secure a receipt from Mr.Lee in order to prove that you repaid him. Did he give you a receipt ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “No sir.”

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma was bought from the Government for sixty-five thousand dollars and sold upwards of eighty thousand dollars. And while, it was Patt’s original plan to own the vehicle, he backed out of the original verbal agreement.

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “The vehicle was sold for the same amount of money that was paid for it ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness:  “When I informed him about selling the vehicle I told him all I wanted back was the money I had paid for it.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “And did you get back the money you paid for it ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Yes sir I got back $65,000.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “So Mr.Herrera what was the purpose of the entire transaction if Mr.Patt didn’t want the vehicle ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Well -”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “Let me recount it to you. Mr.Patt applies to buy the vehicle from the the Prime Minister. He asks for a favor. The Prime Minister agrees to sell it to him. The price is fixed at $65,000, the approval is issued to you. You agree to lend Mr.Patt the $65,000 to pay for the vehicle. The vehicle is paid for and within weeks is sold for the same $65,000 that was paid for it, is that all correct ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Yes sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “Well what was the purpose of that whole exercise ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Mr.Patt didn’t have the finance as I explained.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Yes but he got the vehicle and he gave back the money. So he ended up with no vehicle and all the money went right back to where it was supposed to be.”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Well he informed me he was having family issue with some COVID was in his family and he would not have been able to deal with the vehicle again so- “

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “But he dealt with it, he borrowed the money and he paid it back didn’t he ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “From who ?”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “Mr.Pat.”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “He didn’t pay me back any money.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry:  “He didn’t pay you back any money ? Who paid you back the money ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Well the guy that sold the vehicle when I went to do the transfer with him in Belmopan I told him if he couldn’t get in touch with me well I trust Mr.Ivan because I do a lot of work for him.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “Who is Ivan Leiva ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “I know the man as the man that works at Lands Department and he owns an apartment complex in Belmopan where I usually do maintenance work for him and so.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “And Mr.Leiva arranged the sale of the vehicle on your behalf or Mr.Pat’s behalf ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “My behalf sir.”

Andrew Marshalleck, Chairman, Commission of Inquiry: “On your behalf. Was the vehicle yours or Minister Pat’s ?”

Juvencio Peter Herrera, Witness: “Well the purpose when I get it in my name it was to go to Mr.Patt but he informed me he couldn’t deal with it again so I think the vehicle was mine because it was in my name.”