Claims that the prime minister of Grenada has been protecting an alleged fraudster have been dismissed as “absolutely untrue” by a senior government minister.
Allegations surfaced recently on the blog of an American amateur sleuth that a man named as PK Sandhu had forced a UK business, understood by WIC News to be a wholesaler in southwest England, into liquidation.
His “criminal conduct” is unspecified but the blog post describes Sandhu as a “career fraudster” who holds a Grenadian diplomatic passport.
It goes on to allege he has fled to the island from UK authorities and is enjoying the “personal protection” of Prime Minister Mr. Keith Mitchell.
Speaking to the media earlier this week, International Business Minister Mr. Nickolas Steele said that files dating back to 2001 show no sign of a someone named PK Sandhu.
These files cover diplomatic passport holders as well as regular and ‘official’ passports.
“This claim is absolutely untrue; it’s furthest from the facts,” Mr. Steele said.
WIC News has spoken to the business claiming to be affected by Sandhu’s actions, with the owner hoping to track him down.
An image circulating online shows the prime minister alongside a man identified as PK Sandhu.
This has been explained as a courtesy shot, with Mr. Steele claiming that Mr. Keith Mitchell has his photograph taken with people he doesn’t know at many events.
Ms. Kesha Alexander-Grant, press secretary for prime minister’s office, said that if there was any truth in the allegations then Grenada would have been contacted by British officials
“Had an individual such as this been sought after by the UK government… the UK government would have written to Foreign Affairs via the High Commission,” she said.
“Foreign Affairs has no such record, documentation or query from the UK. No communication has been issued with regards to that.”
Grenada’s diplomats to be named
Grenada’s de facto opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, weighed into the debate at a press conference earlier this week.
Ms. Claudette Joseph, caretaker for the St George constituency, questioned Mr. Mitchell: “Do you have a relationship with one PK Sandhu? If yes, what is the nature of that relationship? Does Mr Sandhu hold a Grenadian diplomatic passport?”
Mr. Steele denied that the government of the prime minister had any relationship with Sandhu.
In order to set the matter straight, he added, the government will publish a list of every single diplomatic passport holder.
“We intend, very shortly, to produce the list of all diplomatic or holders of Grenadian diplomatic passports, the reason for and the type of passport they hold and the rationale for them holding a diplomatic passport,” he said.
This is the second time in a month that allegations of corruption have involved Grenada’s diplomatic passports.
Emails sent to WIC News appear to show a European businessman chasing a former government minister for a US$1 million refund after he failed to receive his passport.
This was described as false by the Mitchell government.
Mr. Kaisha Ince, chairman of the Grenada’s citizenship by investment programme, said earlier this week that people should not be able to buy diplomatic passports.
“The programme provides for persons to receive a regular passport, so it’s not true to say we have a diplomatic passport programme.
“It’s just not correct.”