The Observer News in Antigua is reporting that A “former Prime Minister” of Antigua & Barbuda is being cited as having received portions of the bribes paid to ex-diplomat John Ashe, in the recently announced UN bribery scandal
On Tuesday, Dr John Ashe, Antigua & Barbuda’s former ambassador to the United Nations (UN), was arrested in New York on charges related to a long-running corruption scheme, headed by a Chinese developer.
These claims come directly from a criminal complaint form/charge sheet, signed by representatives of both the United States Magistrate Court and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
According to the report, Dr Ashe received US $800, 000 from “various Chinese businessmen”, and in return “supported these businessmen’s interests within the United Nations and within senior Antiguan government officials, including the country’s then-Prime Minister, with whom Ashe shared a portion of the bribe payments.”
The report failed to provide a name, but based on the time periods listed (2011 – 2014), the “Prime Minister” at the time would have been Baldwin Spencer.
Spencer is reported to have received two separate payments from Dr Ashe of US$170,000 and US$100,000.
The document points to the attempt of a “Chinese Security Company” to set up operations in Antigua & Barbuda, and meetings between its principals and government officials.
Speaking on the revelations, UPP PRO, Senator Damani Tabor said Spencer “is aware of the serious allegation, and is giving them careful study at this time.”
He added that, “a response will be forthcoming after that is completed.”
The current (ALP) government also commented through a press release.
The communiqué indicated the current government’s awareness of Ashe’s arrest. It highlight that Ashe was appointed permanent representative to the UN by the former administration, and that the ABLP administration “replaced Mr Ashe when it was elected to office in 2014.”