Former Belize National Security Minister being investigated by cops

Belize’s Police Commissioner Chester Williams has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into allegations linking former national security minister John Saldivar to a bribery scandal involving an imprisoned American businessman dating back to 2013.

John Saldivar was suspended by Belize PM Dean Barrow earlier this month. (Photo: breakingbelizenews.com)

Earlier this week, Saldivar’s successor, Michael Peyrefitte, told reporters that an investigation had been launched into the allegations after text messages surfaced in a Utah court showing that Saldivar had rejected a wire transfer and accepted to go to Miami to receive a sum of money.

Saldivar, who was placed on indefinite suspension by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, earlier this month,  has admitted that he took the money as campaign finances, but there have been calls for an independent investigation of the matter.

Williams said that Assistant Commissioner of Police Marco Vidal has been assigned to take on the investigation.

Trial transcripts

But he acknowledged that for the investigations to happen, the police must first receive the trial transcripts from the Utah court and any evidence presented in the case against accused the American fraudster Lev Dermen.

“It is not a fly by night thing. There are things that we need to obtain in order to trigger the investigation. From what I have been made to understand, the matter is still ongoing in the Utah Court; a final determination has not been made on the matter,” Williams said.

“So once that has been done, we are going to request the transcript of the case, through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty that we have with the US along with other things that were exhibited in court as evidence. So whenever we get those, we will be able to further the investigate more,” Williams said.

Williams said the police will be working with various agencies and government departments, including the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in the probe. Williams noted also that the investigation can possibly exculpate Saldivar of any wrongdoing.