The Haiti Democracy Project is concerned that a person nominated to a
be deputy attorney-general in charge of the criminal division of the Justice
Department, and confirmed by a Senate vote on September 19, shielded a
telephone company credibly accused of fraud with President Aristide and
may be impeding the financing of the Haitian government’s lawsuit against
this firm and former president.
Click here for Lucy Komisar’s investigative article, commissioned by the Haiti
The Treasury Department’s anti-corruption unit originally hailed the
initiation of this lawsuit and it is essential that this poor country
make effective progress against corruption if it is ever to relieve
poverty and achieve democracy.
We in the United States should do everything possible to assist a
poor country like Haiti when it attempts to control corruption, and
that means NOT shielding U.S. co-conspirators from lawful investigation.
There is strong evidence that the former Haitian president and the
IDT telecommunications firm connived to manipulate Haiti’s
long-distance rates and divert the proceeds to that president’s
offshore bank accounts.
Alice Fisher, who is up for confirmation, had that firm, IDT, as a
client and wrote a letter denying wrongdoing despite evidence to the
contrary. Then, when named to a top post in the Justice Department as
a recess appointee, she helped block a procedure which the Dominican
Republic and many other countries have used, namely to employ seized
assets to finance a continued lawsuit against the remaining suspected
As an exceedingly poor country, Haiti would have a hard time finding
the money to pay an American law firm, Winston and Strawn, to
continue the lawsuit, but there is enough money available in the
seized assets of convicted Haitian drug dealers and there is a
standard procedure for so using it. She appears to have blocked Haiti
from using this available asset, and the lawsuit is in limbo.
We in the Haiti Democracy Project have proposed Haiti for threshold
status under the Millennium Account, which could free up hundreds of
millions of investment funds to create jobs for the poorest people in
the hemisphere. However, the Millennium Account is stringent in its
anti-corruption criteria and we need Haiti to have success in this
lawsuit before there is any serious chance it will qualify.
We hope that the Senate will insist on a closer look at Alice Fisher’s credentials before approving this appointment.
See also Mary Anastasia O’Gray, New Jersey & Aristide, Perfect Together, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2006