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Businessman Jovenel Moise Sworn In as Haiti's President

By VOA News February 07, 2017

Jovenel Moïse was sworn in as the president of Haiti Tuesday morning, following an extended and complicated two-year election cycle.

Moïse took the oath of office in a Parliament chamber surrounded by Haitian lawmakers and foreign dignitaries.

Moïse, whom former Haitian President Michel Martelly hand-picked as his Bald Heads Party (PHTK) candidate, won with nearly 56 percent of the votes cast in the November 20 election.

The Haitian businessman, 48, faces lingering accusations of money laundering. Late last month, Moïse spent four hours answering an investigative judge's questions in a closed Port-au-Prince courtroom, in a process similar to that of a U.S. grand jury. He has denied the allegation, claiming it is politically motivated.

His political opponents, including at least two other candidates for the presidency, had pressed for a decision by Tuesday. Late Monday evening, the government's prosecuting attorney, Danton Leger, released a statement announcing he'd decided to return the case to Judge Bredy Fabien to investigate further. That could take months more to complete.

"For a lack of adequate tools in the justice system, it is impossible to make a definitive decision" by the inaugural date on whether to charge Moïse," Leger's statement said.

The United States, France, and Venezuela were among the countries who sent delegations to attend the inauguration. Thomas Shannon, undersecretary of state for political affairs, is leading the U.S. delegation, which includes Peter Mulrean, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, the White House said Monday.

Carol Guensburg and VOA's Creole Service contributed to this report

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