By Alexis R. Milan
Attorneys for the People’s United Party (PUP), this week, made their formal submissions at the Supreme Court in the case brought forth by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Julius Espat.
According to Espat, they made their submission and presented the grounds on which they are challenging the government’s use of PetroCaribe funds.
Espat said he is of the firm belief, based on the laws in the constitution of Belize; that the government does not have and never had the authority to borrow the PetroCaribe monies, hold the monies in the Central Bank outside the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF); and is not authorized to be spending any of those monies once transferred to the CRF; and may not lawfully repay the loan from Venezuela out of the CRF.
Espat said the first ground on which, they are making their challenge is that the government made the agreement with Alba Petro Caribe (APBEL) for the loan before it was even approved by the National Assembly, which they are required to seek by law.
According to their submissions, APBEL, which is a privately owned company registered in Belize, is not a financial institution and the government cannot lawfully borrow any money from APBEL on behalf of the people of Belize.
According to Espat, it is of fundamental public importance that public funds are secured and expended in a transparent and accountable manner in accordance with the law.