The United Progressive Party (UPP) has denied that two of its senior members were in any way implicated in the Odebrecht bribery scandal which allegedly involved a local bank.
On Wednesday, the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) challenged UPP political leader Senator Harold Lovell and Leader of the Opposition Baldwin Spencer “to explain their role” in the scandal.
The ABLP’s call followed Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s denial of impropriety when his office was mentioned in Brazilian court documents related to the scandal.
A January 4 press release from the opposition party stated, “UPP officials categorically deny that either Spencer or Lovell were named or implicated in any matter pertaining to…Odebrecht…”
It added, “Party officials believe that these allegations are spurious and have no real basis or credibility and are designed as part of a ‘cover up’ to deflect international scrutiny that the Browne administration finds itself facing.”
The ABLP’s January 4 release – circulated via WhatsApp – stated, “The Party points out that, at the centre of the Brazil investigations into fraud, theft and money laundering by Odebrecht SA and [a local bank] is Luiz Franca who was appointed as Honorary Consul to Brazil by Spencer…”
The release added, “The ABLP holds the view that Spencer has a public duty to explain why he appointed Franca and the relationship between him, Franca and Harold Lovell…”
The ABLP said that Lovell, who is the former minister of finance, and Spencer, who is the former prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, were obliged to give an account in relation to the matter since the alleged illicit activities by Odebrecht occurred during their tenure in office.
The ABLP also wants an explanation of Lovell’s alleged interaction with the Brazilian firm Andrade Gutierrez and its executives who were arrested for their participation in the Odebrecht scandal.
More in today’s Daily Observer.