La Prensa reports today that Manuel Zelaya spent L.1.5 million (US $80,000) in five days on his Honduran government credit card. The government has since cancelled his card as well as that of the former Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas. The government also canceled the rental of 50 luxury vehicles and 61 mobil phones that have a credit limit of L.47,500, as well as 100 bank accounts backed by government funds.
Enrique Ortez Collindres, Minister of Foreign Relations, assured reporters that the previous government ordered the sacking of L.40 million from the presidential bank account. A vehicle was parked at the presidential palace presumed to belong to Cesar Ham. Within they found a list of illegal payments for support of the 'opinion poll.'
On the day that Mel was removed from his duties, black garbage bags stuffed with large amounts of cash were found in each minister's cabinet and even in their desk drawers.
The auditors and the Fiscalía to date have accounted for L.600 million in 'petty cash' expenses for the illegal poll. During the week, the DNIC and the Attorney General have confiscated documentation and computers as evidence. Checks were issued for L.17 million, 25, 40, and up to L.60 million lempiras which constitute an embezzlement of public funds.
Among the confiscated documents was a listing of payments to journalists during the last 3 1/2 years, showing payments of from L. 2,500 to L. 250,000 per month. Mel left the new government of Honduras with a deficit of L.8 billion (US $423 million). Ralph Flores, subdirector of FOSDEH, said, "This is a historic deficit that we've never had in this country."
Liberal party congressman, Wenceslao Lara, said that it was a true fiesta of corruption for those Liberals in Zelaya's administration to promote the cuarta urna (fourth ballot box) and the illegal poll.
Manuel Zelaya has been charged with 18 crimes, including abuse of authority and treason, but they are discovering more acts of corruption all the time, like the sacking of government business like Hondutel, ENEE, COPECO, and others.
Additionally, L.260,000 in cash was confiscated in a Choluteca hotel room which had been occupied by Rixi Moncada, former head of La ENEE, the state-run electric company. Speculation was that the money, in L.500 notes was to pay voters. Marcelo Chimirri, the former head of Hondutel, the state-run telephone company, was arrested two days ago for receiving bribes in the Latinode case.
Earlier this week, L.270,000 in cash was found in the President's office.
There will be more to report, I'm sure. After all, this was only six days work.
What say ye now world?
Meanwhile, from Caracas, Zelaya announced that he is returning to Honduras as president tomorrow, as ordered by the United Nations and the Organization of American States.