Canada fires staffers at Haiti embassy amid fraud investigation

Probe reveals that locally recruited employees at Port-au-Prince embassy set up 'various fraud schemes'

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Canada has fired a dozen staffers at its Haiti embassy and is probing others amid an internal fraud investigation that has resulted in estimated government losses of $1.7 million, an official said Tuesday.

Jocelyn Sweet is spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, a government agency that leads humanitarian assistance and manages diplomatic and consular business. She said the probes which began in 2015 have revealed that locally recruited employees at the Port-au-Prince embassy set up “various fraud schemes” since 2004 that inflated invoices and resulted in the theft of property, among other things.

Canada’s international assistance program in Haiti and its humanitarian response to Hurricane Matthew’s destruction were not impacted, she stressed.

Meanwhile, an administrative probe is ongoing to review the behaviour of Canadian staffers at the embassy in Haiti.

There have been no criminal charges filed so far.

Sweet said the Haiti findings have launched audits in other “high fraud risk” locations to determine whether similar cons could be taking place at any of the country’s other embassies abroad. Risk assessments identified Canadian missions in Russia, Nigeria, Kenya, India and Algeria that “could be exposed to the same risk factors that manifested in Haiti,” she said.

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