Corruption in Belize courts


Tonight, there is a great deal of suspicion surrounding the actions of a senior court staffer, which suggest multiple, condoned irregularities within the lower court system.

Gabriel Casey is a bailiff working for the Magistracy department, and his job is to go around collecting payments from defendants who are brought to court for civil suits. It usually involves individuals who prove to be difficult in honouring commitments with different business places like loan institutions or persons who’ve been sued and lost their case, where the court has ordered them to pay fines or compensation.

Acting as an official enforcement arm of the court, Casey goes out and collects from those persons who owe, but the problem is, that persons he has collected from, claim that instead of depositing the money into the public purse or on behalf the finance institutions, he pockets it.

We’re talking about hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars, and from what 7News has been able to unearth through our investigation, there are several persons complaining that he misappropriated money that they gave him to deliver to the court as the collection agent.

We’ve been given details of a particular case which got him in trouble with the Public Service Commission in which he collected $3,000 on behalf Heritage Bank from a defendant. The accusation is that instead of delivering it to the court like he ought to, he kept the entire sum for himself. That person complained to the court, and Casey was investigated by the Commission, which placed him on 3 months administrative leave. Reliable sources tell us that in that inquiry, he was found guilty of wrong doing. But instead of being sacked, the Commission allowed him to return to work with simply a letter of a reprimand.

If you’re not shaking your head right now, you should be, because our inquiry says that more complaints have emerged against him. One reliable report, which we’ve confirmed with the aggrieved party, is that he allegedly sold a vehicle which the court left in his care as custodian. Our report says he collected $6,500 for the vehicle promising the senior police officer that he’d be able to transfer ownership over to him. Since he’s collected that money, which was about 2 years ago, he’s not been able to deliver on that promise to the officer, so the vehicle does not belong to the police officer, even though he paid money for it.

Another man gave a hand written complaint to the court saying that Casey shook him down for $5,700, confiscating a vehicle he didn’t own, and almost got him jailed after a committal warrant was executed by a police officer to get him to court. We’ve contacted that man who complained against Casey, and he told us that he cannot comment at this time because he is in the process of making a formal police report.

We’re told that there at least 6 other cases before the Public Service Commission, for which Casey is being investigated for allegations of shady dealings. But, he’s on the job, and that would suggest to observers that despite compelling allegations of fraud and injustice, he enjoys a senior level of protection within the Magistracy.

Thoughts

With all the corruption going on in the system both political and judicial, I find it appalling that people still choose to defend the failed system. Belize is a few days short of 33 years and we have seen more corruption that other nations that are several times older.

It always plays out tho that things that happen under either PUP or UDP are covered up to protect their power.


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