Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014. 9:02 pm CST.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: In an unprecedented move, the People’s United Party’s (PUP) National Executive today decided to suspend sitting Belize Rural North standard bearer and attorney Arthur Saldivar from acting in that capacity pending the results of an internal investigation into allegations of misbehavior on his part.
Saldivar is accused of taking and failing to return some $900,000 from former clients Melonie and Marlene Coye, who were released from charges of money laundering following a successful criminal appeal in March.
The money was part of the $1.557 million seized by authorities in a raid of the family home nearly seven years ago and attorney and client together went to the Central Bank to recover it after a successful appeal.
They were said to be holding separate briefcases with the money but Ms. Coye could not later locate the briefcase Saldivar was holding.
Saldivar has denied wrongdoing, but the party is conducting its own investigation.
Party leader Francis Fonseca told reporters in a brief session downstairs of party headquarters just before noon today that Saldivar is not allowed to engage in party-related activities with regard to his suspended candidacy up until a report on the investigation is completed on September 12 and the party makes its final decision via the National Executive five days later.
But he appeared calm and even challenging as he briefly addressed reporters on his departure, saying that the decision was “of no import” to him at this time and that the people of his division still have a champion fighting for them.
He added, echoing Rt. Hon. George Price’s words to a journalist during the 1993 general election campaign, “When it’s time to talk, we’ll talk.”
And while Saldivar is confident, Fonseca says the party is concerned about the sheer number of cases on the table involving Saldivar, some with complaints before the General Legal Council and others articulated publicly but not challenged.
Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay has filed a claim against Saldivar for the missing money on Ms. Coye’s behalf.
Fonseca says due process has been afforded to Saldivar beginning with his appearance today where he made representations, and he is being interviewed along with other witnesses in connection with all the cases he faces.
He is a campaign manager for the Eastern Caucus of the PUP and has not been suspended from that post.
Fonseca says the party will do its best to balance the wishes of the people of Belize Rural North who re-elected Saldivar earlier this year with the Constitution of the PUP and the party’s intent to stay straight and narrow.
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