Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit last month reported, in “Diplomats for Sale”, the allegations against politicians who reportedly took campaign funding from rich foreignersin a swap for diplomatic passports.
The Caribbean politicians have denied the allegations. Up to press time, Caribbean Today could not verify Al Jazeera’s reporting.
However, Al Jazeera claimed secret filming of transactions allegedly show, for example, former Dominica Prime Minister Oliver Seraphin offering to arrange a deal which would offer an ambassadorship in Asia in return for receiving $470,000.
With Dominica’s general elections looming on Dec. 6, the report also indicated that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is seeking re-election, accepted large sums of money into his 2014 campaign from Alireza Monfared in exchange for making the Iranian businessman ambassador to Malaysia.
Foreigners reportedly desire the diplomatic status because they provide immunity from law enforcement. In Monfared’s case, it would prevent him from being troubled by the Iranian government. However, he was arrested last month by Iranian authorities and sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing revenues generated from the sale if oil.
Skerrit and Seraphin have denied any involvement in the alleged corruption scheme. Skerrit also said he did not discuss any money for ambassadorship swap with Seraphin.
A similar corrupt scheme also occurred in Grenada, the news organization reported, where an American businessman reportedly claimed a partner was offered a diplomatic job in exchange for funding future government projects. The reporting also indicated that an American conman claimed he gave $500,000 to Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell as partial payment for being appointed ambassador-at-large. Mitchell, it was reported, claimed he received $15,000 for travel expenses.
Grenada’s government has denied the overall allegations.
Usually ambassadors are citizens of the appointing nation, according the 1961 Vienna Convention. Al Jazeera reported that multiple Caribbean nations did not hire citizens for the professional diplomatic posts and those non-citizens were also engaged in other businesses, a practice opposed by the U.N.