Opposition Leader calls for police inquiry of senior minister’s transaction

ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 21, CMC – Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell has called on the police white-colllar crime squad to investigate what he suggested is a suspicious Saudi Arabian money transfer to an un-named “top government minister.”

On Sunday, while Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was in the east of the island holding a rally to thank supporters for their solidarity as he fought off a bruising, opposition-led, no-confidence challenge, Mitchell was on the west coast telling a political meeting that Thomas knows which of his ministers was involved in the alleged scandal.

Mitchell claimed he has solid evidence that 150,000 US dollars was wired from Saudi Arabia into a senior minister’s bank account.

“I have solid information in my hands of a very top top government minister who has collected in his own bank account US 150,000 dollars,” Mitchell said.

He said a cheque for 100,000 EC dollars of the money was paid to another individual he described as “a close political friend’’ of the NDC.

“More than that and the prime minister knows exactly who that person is, the person wrote an EC 100,000 thousand cheque to a close political friend in the party and when he was asked what was that money for he said it was legal fees,” Mitchell told a rally of his New National Party (NNP) in the west coast fishing town of Gouyave – days after he first made the claim in the island’s parliament.

The opposition leader said Grenadian law has been broken in the alleged money transaction and he demanding the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Royal Grenada Police Force begin inquiries, while at the same time casting doubt on their independence.

“The money came from Saudi Arabia to the Republic Bank. The FIU is supposed to be an independent body but they are politicians in there, the former prime minister told supporters.

“But we are giving them a challenge. Show your independence. Deal with … persons who have accepted that he has received that money because that is against the law of the land.”

Among the functions of the Police FIU, which was set up in 2003, are analysis and investigation of “matters arising from suspicious transaction reports, money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes’’,

So far, there has been no official response from the government or the police.

While the NNP was meeting in Gouyave, the embattled Grenadian leader held what he called a confidence rally in the rural St Andrew’s riding on Sunday to celebrate his survival of a no confidence vote in the island’s parliament last week.