Prime Minister dismisses Opposition Leader’s claim of illegal money transaction

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 22, CMC – Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has denied a claim by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell of a suspicious Saudi Arabian money transfer to an un-named “top government minister.”

Prime Minister Thomas, speaking on local television here, said that neither he nor any of his ministers had received funds from anyone in Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, Mitchell, speaking at a rally of his New National Party (NNP), told supporters that Thomas knows which of his ministers was involved in the alleged scandal.

Mitchell claimed he has solid evidence that US$150,000 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, adding that a cheque for EC$100,000 (US$37,037) of the money was paid to another individual whom he described as “a close political friend’’ of the NDC.

But Prime Minister Thomas insisted “I have not received any money from Saudi Arabia myself. I am not aware of any money being received from Saudi Arabia .I believe it is mischief.

“The NNP has been tainted with wrong doing and they want to bring all politicians within that category. I think that is what they are trying to do they are trying to confuse the Grenadian people to make it appear that all of us as politicians are involved in wrong doing. But I don’t think that would succeed.

“If NNP has information and they feel something needs to be investigated they could go and make a report to the FIU and the FIU could conduct an investigation,” Prime Minister Thomas said.

“But it is usual that officials in political parties receive contribution and donations for their organization. All political parties receive contribution or donation. So I do not know what really is the basis of the allegations,” he added.

Mitchell said Grenadian law has been broken in the alleged money transaction and he is 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.”