EFEPort-au-Prince

Hundreds of Haitians gathered here Friday to demand an investigation into a diversion of funds from a Venezuelan program that supplies crude oil to Caribbean and Central American nations on generous terms.

The protesters met outside the Anti-Corruption Court in Port-au-Prince to demand punishment for those who commit acts of corruption in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

They also accused President Jovenel Moise's administration of having no interest in finding the people responsible for embezzling funds from the PetroCaribe initiative.

"It's an embarrassment that other countries are using (PetroCaribe) money for infrastructure and big projects and we do nothing," Olrich Jean-Pierre, one of the protest organizers, told EFE.

The investigation into the diversion of PetroCaribe funds will be a priority, Moise said Thursday.

"A lot of money was spent and people have the right to ask about what happened. We will investigate everyone, those inside the government and those outside," he said.

The Haitian parliament published last year a report blaming former senior officials for irregularities in the use of the PetroCaribe funds, but no one has been prosecuted.