Haiti Nominee Accused in Report
Nov. 05, 1998
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ A government audit shows that President Rene Preval's latest choice to head Haiti's government has mismanaged funds, a senator says. The report lengthens the odds against resolving Haiti's long power struggle.
The report makes it unlikely that Haiti's Parliament will accept Education Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis for premier and end an impasse that has left the Western hemisphere's poorest country without a working government for 16 months.
Sen. Elie Plancher said the State Audit Office presented the 20-page, confidential report to lawmakers Tuesday. Later, he told The Associated Press that the report, covering Alexis' management from February 1996 to October 1997, alleges mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.
``These are serious charges,'' Plancher said.
Alexis could not be reached for comment.
Haitian lawmakers have not agreed on a new premier since June 1997, when Prime Minister Rosny Smarth resigned. Opposition lawmakers charge that partial legislative elections were slanted in favor of those loyal to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Alexis was the fourth nominee named by Preval.
The standoff has prevented passage of a two government budgets, frightened away foreign investors and left millions of dollars of much-needed foreign aid on hold.
It has also forced an indefinite postponement of legislative and municipal elections scheduled for this month.
The impasse has dashed hopes of democracy sown in 1994, when 20,000 U.S. troops intervened to end three years of repressive military rule, restore Aristide to power, and halt an exodus of boat people to Florida.
Aristide chose his protege, Preval, to run in the 1995 elections. Aristide expected to run in the 2000 presidential elections.