The Missing Musa Link Print E-mail
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Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00

Why would a Prime Minister want to extend the contract of a company beyond his term of office? That is anybody’s guess but if we were to look at particular coincidences which took place when and after the Belize International Services Limited (BISL) was formed to manage the International Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) and the International Business Companies Registry, then things begin to clear up.

The offshore business began in Belize sometime in 1990 after Michael Ashcroft played a crucial role in setting up legislation to allow for this to take place. On June 13th, 1990, BISL was given by the then PUP government the go-ahead to run the marine registry and the offshore companies registry. What is noteworthy is that BISL’s owners at the time were Belize Holdings Inc., now BCB holdings (an Ashcroft related company) and Morgan and Morgan, which is a group operating out of Panama. By 1993, June 11th to be precise, a new agreement was reached for an extension of the contract for BISL to continue to run the registries for 10 more years. This agreement was signed just days before General Elections which were held on June 30th, 1993.

That extension was odd enough but what makes it too much of a suspicious deal is the fact that the Morgan and Morgan group lists Naim Musa (the nephew of Said Musa) as an associate “since 1993 and currently the Executive Director for Morgan & Morgan Trust Corporation (Belize) Ltd.” Morgan and Morgan’s website also explains that “Mr. Musa has been also Managing Director of the International Merchant Marine of Belize (IMMARBE), the entity that handles the procedures and other various activities relating to the registration of ships and mortgages in Belize.” The close family ties between the company and at least one Government minister back in 1993 does allow for a great deal of speculation.

And that speculation extends even further into the dealings between the PUP   Government and BISL as it took place at a particular juncture when the Government was also negotiating with Ashcroft for his company E-Com to buy 15% shares in BTL. That sale took place on the 22nd of March 2005, the public announcement of the sale was done on the 23rd. For the sale to have taken place, Musa had given some major concessions to Ashcroft including the signing a Settlement Agreement, which among other things, wrote off 12 million dollars in taxes owed by Ashcroft.

It is too much of a coincidence that on March 24th 2005 Francis Fonseca and Said Musa signed the secret agreement to extend the contract for BISL to manage the ship and companies registries for an additional 7 years taking it up to 2020. One is left to wonder if this was not also a part of the deal in order for Ashcroft’s E-Com to buy a portion of BTL.

It should be noted that during the month of March 2005, there was significant pressure being applied to the Musa Government asking for tax reform which even led to a demonstration by the unions in that month. There was also a great deal of uncertainty at the time over BTL’s future and at one point having BTL employees walking out of work.