Dominican leader returns to a crime, corruption plagued nation - After 13 days abroad president Leonel Fernandez finds the country and his ruling PLD Party submerged in problems including a serious crime wave.

The Presidency’s Chief of Staff Cesar Pina said upon his arrival the chief executive will convene the Citizen Security Council, while the population complains of increased crime.

As a political leader Fernandez will directly take part in the selection of the Central Electoral Board’s (JCE) Judges, as Senate president Reinaldo Pared himself said the Head of State has his candidates for those posts.

The chief executive will also have to deal with a conflict with his ally PRSC party in the wake of the Senate tapping Felix Vásquez as a member of the National Magistrate Council (CNM), a move that led to the PRSC threatening to dissolve the agreement for the “prank” and “backstabbing” by the Government and the PLD.

Adding to all the problems is the threat by Interior and Police minister Franklin Almeyda to visit Congress with “police troops” to demand more funds in the 2011 Budget, to better fight crime, while the blackouts and other old problems in the electrical sector are more and more untenable and continue waiting by a solution.

And in the wake of rampant government corruption the International Monetary Fund has also suggested several points has proposed solution that are now in the hands of the chief executive, who returned 10:30 p.m. Sunday night.


Audit reveals more Dominican Government corruption

An Accounts Chamber audit of the Dominican Municipal League (LMD) found that the entity paid RD$70.4 million in "aid" for people in cash; RD$89.2 million for food rations without documentary support; RD$32.3 million for employees who don’t exert any function, and payrolls for departments that don’t physically exist, as verified in a survey of posts and a visit to the East region.

The "preliminary report’s” March, 2008 date is for the period between January 1 and December 31, 2006, but wasn’t made public.

According to the audit the LMD owed the Retirement Plan RD$234.8 million, of which RD$171.8 million corresponded to loans, with a concentration of the funds in the entity’s plan, jeopardizing its beneficiaries.

In that period the LMD paid RD$20.6 million in publicity.

Accounts Chamber auditors verified that the contracts were neither written nor validated by the legal consultancy, with contradictions between duration and renewal.

The LMD also bought a Colibrí Aviation helicopter model EC120 B, US registry N 279 EH, series 1279, via the company Servifenix, represented by Joaquin Ruiz, for US$995,000, with a US$295,000 down payment, with letters of credit generating interests of US$134, 547 (around five million pesos).

The remaining US$700,000 was to be paid over six years with US$414,000 paid with 36 consecutive monthly payments of US$11,500.

For the helicopter’s maintenance a petty cash box of RD$75,000 was created to cover the cost of fuel, which consumed RD$1.2 million during 2006, plus an undetermined amount for repairs and other expenses.

The audit also shows RD$7 million for the purchase of Christmas baskets via the account "Assistance," but handed out to different “personalities" nationwide and a RD$2 million payment through letter of credit for the company Small Wonder, also for purchase of Christmas baskets for mayors and members of City councils.

None of the baskets’ content are specified nor is there evidence they were delivered, although the vouchers annexed to the checks say they were given to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Monsignor Agripino Núñez, ex president Hipólito Mejía, Interior and Police minister Franklin Almeyda, among others.

Also registered is a RD$232,000 payment to the company Logroño Thompson for Christmas cards which don’t mention the LMD, and to cite its General Secretary Amable Aristy and his family.

Large sums

The LMD’s funds go a long way much, according to the audit.

That year the LMD transacted RD$117.5 million and the analysis verified that it made “donations” through checks and letters of credit directly issued by the State-owned Reservas bank under the name of the beneficiaries.

The report shows that the organization issued 747 checks for a total of RD$5.3 million, 424 of which are for beneficiaries whose ID cards don’t match the first endorsement, as verified in the Central Electoral Board’s data base.

Deviation of funds

As deviation of funds the Acount Chamber lists check number 14660 for RD$250,000 in the name of Ana Carolina Viñas, to support her participation in the international Coffee pageant and in Miss International.

Its Military and Security equipment account registers 55 firearms;  13 shotguns, four revolvers and 48 pistols,  95% of which are in the hands of local police auxiliaries, deputies, mayors and councilpersons. Also 16 vehicles located in the City Council of Higüey, whose mayor is Aristy’s daughter, Karina Aristy de Logroño.

Amable Aristy, despite being a member of the opposition PRSC party, obtained the LMD’s top post with the support of the ruling PLD party.

Go back | Date: 04 Oct 2010
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