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Newsline: Haiti’s ambassador to U.S. fired after graft scheme inside Washington embassy

Haiti has fired its ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, following investigations by the U.S. and Haitian governments into a kick-back corruption scheme inside its Washington embassy involving the illegal issuance of passports, a Haitian government official confirmed to the Miami Herald. (https://news.yahoo.com/haiti-top-diplomat-u-fired-222656707.html) The decision to dismiss Edmond, who was abruptly called back to Port-au-Prince this week, was made Wednesday by Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Henry sent an assessment mission to its embassy in Washington last month following allegations that embassy staffers were producing passports for Haitians living outside the United States and charging bribes to expedite them as part of an unsanctioned scheme. Edmond, who did not respond to Herald request for comment, has denied any wrong-doing. In a one-page statement he released Thursday, he called the allegations against him “far-fetched.” He pointed fingers, instead, at his former boss, Claude Joseph, who served as both interim prime minister and foreign minister of Haiti under the late President Jovenel Moïse. Joseph told the Herald that when he learned about the corruption allegations, he did what he had to and ordered an inquiry by the ministry of foreign affairs. The corruption first came to light when Joseph was in charge of the foreign ministry. In June of 2021, U.S. Customs officials seized several packages with a total of 400 passport applications from Haitian nationals living in Chile and cash totaling $50,000. The FedEx packageswere addressed to the personal residence of Gélorme Juste, who was Joseph’s cousin and who was serving at the time as head of the consular section of the Haitian embassy in Washington.

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