ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda’s former high commissioner to the United Kingdom Sir Ronald Sanders was yesterday named by police as “a person of interest” in the Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co Ltd (IHI) Japan multimillion dollar fraud scandal dating back to the 1990s.
The appeal for Sanders to present himself for questioning comes two weeks after police announced the “brazen” theft of the files of the case that were housed in the High Court.
Police are now reconstituting the criminal file.
The IHI probe examines whether and/or how several individuals allegedly funneled US $14 million into their pockets from government coffers masked as loan repayment installments to IHI, which financed the construction of a desalination plant in the twinisland.
Lead investigator in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Detective Superintendent Nuffield Burnette made a request for the former World Trade Organisation (WTO) ambassador to “present” himself to the police to be interviewed and to co-operate throughout the duration of the probe.
“Most of the significant persons … have already assisted the investigations and presented themselves to the police to be interviewed. Against this backdrop and in the police’s quest to advance this gigantic multimillion dollar criminal conspiracy, the police are making a specific appeal to Sir Ronald Sanders and request that he presents himself to the IHI detectives to be interviewed,” a press statement read.
Lawmen said all efforts to contact Sanders have proved futile thus the urgent appeal for him to make contact with Commissioner Vere Browne at 764-6323 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Superintendent Burnette at 764-2285.
A public appeal was made for anyone with information about Sanders’ whereabouts or how to get in touch with him to contact the CID at 462-3913/14.
A person of interest in this criminal probe, the police indicated, is “based on the contents of a report that was done by financial forensic investigator Robert Lindquist which was corroborated by preliminary police enquiries.”
Sanders, whose work in Antigua & Barbuda spanned 20 years under the Antigua Labour Party administration, is among a list of other ALP members named as persons of interest.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)