The current Foreign Affairs Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, has written to the police commissioner and the director of public prosecutions (DPP), providing evidence of money transfers to opposition candidate Dr McChesney Emanuel and a sworn affidavit claiming fraud by Emanuel with the collusion of current leader of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, while he was finance minister in the previous UPP government.
Emanuel is the UPP candidate in the St John’s Rural North, running against Fernandez.
Fernandez said he was writing in his capacity as a private citizen of his country and pointed to the fact that, in an affidavit filed in a US court last month, Hong Kong businessman Peter Ming Chau stated that he (Chau) paid Emanuel “in excess of US$35,000” as a deposit to receive the post of “Special Envoy to China”.
The affidavit also shows evidence of money transfers from Chau to Emanuel’s company, Chez Technologies Inc. in the United States in August 2012.
Chau also stated under oath that Emanuel practiced the activity of “selling” official envoy titles and/or positions.
A letter from Lovell, as then minister of finance, the economy and public administration, dated September 26, 201, appointing Chau as “Foreign Direct Investment Envoy” for the now defunct Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), reporting to Emanuel as chairman of the ABIA board of management, was also sent to the police and DPP.
At the time, Lovell was not the minister of foreign affairs nor did he have any authority to issue such a letter.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced earlier this month that the Cabinet had decided to appoint a special investigator to look into the bribery and money laundering allegations against Emanuel.
Emanuel has denied fraudulent activities, saying that the people making the allegations are on a smear campaign because he is likely to defeat his constituency opponent Fernandez.