The office of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry issued the first public statement on Thursday about evidence authorities say they have of phone calls between him and a key suspect in the presidential assassination, saying he received numerous calls from people worried about his safety after the slaying.
The office stated that it is unable to identify all of the individuals who called him or establish the content of the talks because Henry was unable to take all of them.
Bed-Ford Claude, a former top prosecutor of Port-au-Prince Claude, who was fired by Henry last week, requested the prime minister to meet with him to discuss two phone contacts he had with Joseph Badio just hours after President Jovenel Moïse was slain.
Badio formerly worked for Haiti's Ministry of Justice and the government's anti-corruption unit until being sacked in May for allegedly breaking specific ethical rules. He is sought for a variety of charges, including murder, AP News reported.
Evidence suggests Badio was near Moise's home when the calls were made, according to Claude, who urged the judge in the case to prosecute Henry on Tuesday, just hours before he was dismissed.
Haiti PM assigns new justice minister
The statement was made by Henry's office only hours after Haiti's new justice minister promised to find those guilty for high-profile assassinations in his first public appearance since succeeding his predecessor, whom Henry also sacked this week.
Senator Joseph Lambert, an old-guard politician, then attempted to use the disarray to force himself into the vacant presidency. After a gunfight near the parliament building, the effort failed; and diplomats encouraged him to back down, as per The Financial Times.
The heightened political tensions come as the 11-million- people Caribbean island tries to recover from a devastating earthquake last month, which has resulted in growing poverty, a failing economy, and rampant gang violence.
Business leaders claim that the administration was preoccupied with a violent power battle instead of addressing these issues or investigating Moïse's death. The charge against Henry was sparked by a cross-party agreement he struck days before to lead an interim administration until new elections could be conducted at the end of 2022.
Haiti's political class has been despised for decades due to corruption scandals and abuses of power, and Moïse's refusal to conduct elections has left a group of ten senators as the sole elected national authorities. The "Jovenelistes" supporters of the assassinated president, are on one side of the power battle.
Martine, his wife, was injured in the assassination plot on her husband and now intends to run for president. This faction, which includes Rockfeller Vincent, the dismissed justice minister, wants swift elections to prevent their influence from slipping away.
Henry and a coalition led by Michel Martelly, the musician-turned-president who controlled Haiti from 2011 to 2016, are in the opposing camp. They advocate postponing an election to give themselves more time to gain clout.
Haitians call for Prime Minister Ariel Henry's to resign
The third group of conventional politicians, including Lambert, is jockeying for status behind the scenes in the hopes of securing lucrative state jobs. So far, international powers have backed Henry.
Following his arrest, ambassadors from the so-called Core Group, which includes the United States and four other countries, as well as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, released a statement supporting his attempts to create a broad-based interim administration.
The Office of Citizen Protection, which functions as an ombudsman in Haiti, is among those calling on Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign for an alleged link to the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse.
Henry recently dismissed authorities, including the previous justice minister and Port-au-Prince's chief prosecutor, who wanted to question him as part of the assassination probe. On Thursday, Haiti's new justice minister spoke publicly for the first time since taking over from his predecessor, promising to find those guilty for high-profile killings, Newsweek via MSN reported.
Moïse, who was fatally killed at his house on July 7, and Monferrier Dorval, head of Port-au-Prince's Bar Association, were both slain at their homes in August of last year, according to Justice Minister Liszt Quitel.
Prosecutor Frantz Louis Juste has taken Claude's position, while Renald Lubérice, the secretary-general of Haiti's Council of Ministers, resigned on Wednesday, claiming he couldn't remain under Henry and accusing him of delaying justice. Josué Pierre Louis took his position.
Some have questioned the Tèt Kale party's ability to stay in power in the wake of the sudden firings and resignations while the investigation into Moïse's death continues and Haiti prepares for legislative and presidential elections in early November.