New date for extradition of former Turks and Caicos premier
According to a new statement issued by the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), former premier Michael Misick, will be now extradited from Brazil and returned to the TCI between January 7 and 13, 2014.
The government had previously indicated that Misick would be extradited in November 2013. However, the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) said subsequently that complications within the Brazilian legal system had resulted in further delays. One source has indicated that Misick, who was reported to be in possession of a Brazilian work permit, obtained the document illegally.
The latest statement said that, if Misick arrives during a day when court is in session, he will be taken directly to court for a sufficiency hearing. However, there has been no official word to date that Misick has ever been formally charged with any offence, merely that he was wanted for questioning in relation to allegations of widespread government corruption during his time in office.
Nevertheless, in a Christmas message to the TCI, Governor Peter Beckingham appeared to anticipate such charges by saying that the New Year will bring criminal trials, including the prosecution of former premier Misick.
“Like all new years, I am sure 2014 will bring its share of challenges, pleasures and disappointments. For the Turks and Caicos these will include the pending trials of the former premier and some of his former colleagues,” the governor said.
Misick was arrested in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in December 2012, on an Interpol Red Notice, after being on the run for several months prior to that.
An open question at this point is how Misick will travel back to the TCI, since the normal route from Brazil would be on a commercial flight through Miami, and he is believed to be a person of interest to a number of US agencies.
It is believed that the SIPT is working in concert with US law enforcement and, at some point, Misick will have to face charges in the US.
According to another unofficial report circulating at high levels in the TCI, between five and seven other people are facing arrest in early January. Over a year ago, the SIPT indicated that there were several layers of corruption that were discovered during their investigation phase, which is continuing.
As former ministers and their families face trial on criminal charges next year, the possibility of plea bargains drawing others before the court remains the topic of much local speculation.