Mary O'Grady, editorial staff
Wall Street Journal
Links between U.S. telephone companies and the Haitian government have been uncovered through FOIA requests by the Wall Street Journal. A New Jersey-based company, IDT, had a contract showing that when the official settlement rate of the monopoly was 23-cents per minute, IDT had access to the Haitian network at a rate of 8.75 cents per minute, but did not file that rate with the FCC in 2003. It also kept secret that it was making its payments to an offshore account in the Turks and Caicos instead of to Teleco Haiti. Then Haitian ruler Jean Bertrand Aristide may have been reaping the benefits. Another company with a Teleco Haiti contract, Fusion Telecom, appealed a pending FOIA request, as of May 2008.
The Wall Street Journal filed a pair of FOIA requests in pursuit of records of long-distance contracts between the government of Haiti and U.S. telecommunications providers, one of which elicited documents showing a discrepancy in the rate used for service. Subsequently, the Journal discovered that the provider had made payments not to the Haitian provider, but to an offshore account.
Haiti, telephone, telecommunications, FCC, contract, offshore account, corruption, IDT, Fusion
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