David Miguel Nanes-Schnitzer was found on Ambergris Caye on November 3, 2015 with a fraudulent driver’s license. He was nabbed via the joint efforts of the US Marshalls and San Pedro Police and was detained. At the time of his arrest little did anyone know that this was merely the tip of an iceberg that was only just beginning to chip away and reveal the irregularities happening in the Immigration Department. Upon his arrest he was taken to court before the Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on November 6, 2015 and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison. By this time, the Mexican authorities had already informed the Belizean Government that Nanes-Schnitzer was wanted by their officials for his involvement in a forty two million dollars scheme that duped many Mexicans. Nanes Schnitzer went back to court on November 20, 2015 seeking Supreme Court bail. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had asked Justice Hanomansingh for an adjournment as they were seeking to object to bail but were waiting on final documents to back up their request. Justice Hanomansingh refused to have the matter adjourned and subsequently granted a ten thousand dollar bail to Nanes Schnitzer citing that due to his investments in Belize he is not viewed as a flight risk. Nanes-Schnitzer was never found again in Belize as he skipped bail and left the country. What he did leave behind, however, were the official Belize documents he had managed to acquire during his five year stay in Belize. He had his Belizean passport, Belizean Permanent Residence, Belize City driver’s license, San Pedro driver’s license and Voters ID. These were all overwhelming reasons for a Senate investigation to be carried out, says former Senator, Lisa Shoman who had brought the motion before the Senate on December 9, 2015; a motion she says was rejected by the Senators for the Government.
“What I wanted the Senate Investigation to do was to look into all the circumstances of all his fraudulent documentation. Now at that time it was already known that senator Godwin Hulse was involved because he was the Minister of Immigration and he cancelled the passport of David Banes by Gazetting it so he would have to have been questioned. I asked Senator Hulse on the floor of the senate to recuse himself because he was going to be a subject of questioning not for any bad reasons but for him to say what had happened and why and how did he know this and how much did he know and when he knew it. Not only Senator Hulse but also Senator Salazar and the entire government appointed bench voted against the motion for the senate to investigate David Nanes Shnitzer. All of the other senators, because at the time there wasn’t the 13th senator, all the other senators were in favor of this investigation and has history has proven it should have been investigated by the senate and it can still be investigated by the senate and that motion should be brought back because we need to get to the bottom of this or we are never going to know where the corruption and rot spreads to and who are responsible. We already know however that there was an internal investigation that was done and we already know some of the people whose names were already identified by that investigation including Addy Pacheco and if I am not mistaken even Minister Castro so that all of those people need to be questioned to find out what happened, how it happened.”
Former PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman says that she has been in communication with her party in bringing back the motion to look into the issuance of his nationality and other documents.
“I’ve been saying that to them and I think you just have to watch the questions that are being asked and that will be asked because there are several compelling witnesses that are coming out including Ms.Addy Pacheco who will be asked many things I’m sure because if she was doing certain things in the Nanes Shnitzer case what you would want to ask and know is, is this how you operated? If you did it once how many times did you do it? Did you do it ten times, twenty times? Why were you operating like this ? If we know for instance that there is one five hundred dollar bribe that was paid and deposited the question has to be asked, how many bribes were paid how many times did you deposit this money? And was there any time when such money was not deposited who took it, how much and how many times? A senate inquiry is really what should be done that is the most public of investigations, the minister has a right to be questioned in private, any minster does but any minister should be willing to waive that privilege unless there are national security concerns that they don’t want to reveal. Why not, the sunlight is healthy lets upon the windows and let everybody see. That in itself will create a culture where we become increasingly intolerant of corruption.”
Nanes Schnitzer was captured by Mexican authorities on January 27, 2017.