Labour Minister Oliver Joseph, who is responsible for Economic Development Trade and Planning, is being called upon to apologise to the nation for what has been described as a “bold-face lie” in relation to the fraud related Charles Liu issue.
Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke made the call on Monday, challenging the minister’s statement last week to the host of local television programme “Watch Dog,” that the matter involving Charles Liu and his wife Lisa Wang has come to an end.
Liu, who is the main investor behind the US2 billion dollar Mt. Hartman project, was taken to court by United States-based Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on fraud charges in June 2016 and has since been ordered by a US District Court to return more than US26 million, which he and his wife were accused of embezzling from foreign investors.
The Mt. Hartman Project was once pushed as a flagship project of the ruling Keith Mitchell administration in the 2016 Budget. However, no mentioned was made of it in the 2017 Budget.
“Interestingly, not a word was said about this project in the 2017 Budget. It was not mentioned at all,” Sen. Burke noted adding, but nonetheless, the government wishes to assure us through Min. Joseph that a settlement has been reached and that the Mt. Hartman project will now continue as normal.
“When we heard this report, one of our colleagues, the Chairman of our party made inquiries of the SEC asking whether in fact this matter has now been settled and a letter was received from Mr. Gary Leung, who is the Senior Trial Counsel at the SEC…saying that Mr. Liu and Ms. Wang his wife have not honoured the proposed settlement, the case has not been resolved and he provided documentation from the court in order to support his claim,” Sen. Burke revealed.
The Congress leader said for Min. Joseph “to come to the nation and tell this plain out lie is something that we (NDC) consider unacceptable by all standards and today we are calling on Min. Joseph to render first of all a public apology to the nation…and as a minister of government responsible to the nation he has a responsibility to speak the truth and to report to the nation facts that they can rely on.”