US “endemic corruption” in DR, Even beans become a Government scandal (UPDATE)

US “endemic corruption” label about Dominican Republic

Yesterday’s accusation by the United States that Dominican society’s “endemic corruption” hobbles the war on drug trafficking is sure to draw the rebuke of various prominent sectors who call Washington’s policy hypocritical.

The US said however that it’s not the Dominican Government’s policy to encourage or facilitate drug trafficking and acknowledged advances in 2011 and even stressed fewer suspicious flights and more confiscations.

“As policy, the Dominican Government neither encourages or facilitates the production, processing or distribution of narcotics, psychotropics and other controlled substances, nor tolerates the activities related to money laundering, nevertheless, corruption continues being endemic in all levels of Dominican society,” says the annual strategy report against drugs, sent by the State Department to the US Congress.

Washington affirms that the cooperation between the US and Dominican governments to control drug trafficking, international crime and the search for fugitives continues strong. “The United States receives an excellent cooperation from the National Drugs Control Agency and other Dominican authorities.”

It recognizes that the authorities have heightened the vigilance on sea routes lanes, maintaining his capacity to prevent the use with Dominican airspace for the traffic of drugs.

Double standard

But critics including Ethics Commission president and the Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez have criticized Washington’s “double standard” against the country, when despite its searing reports against Santo Domingo, keep silence on the outcome of major narcotics and money laundering cases such as the one of ex Dominican Army captain Qiurino Paulino, whose entire family of around 12 people was taken to the US under its witness protection program.

They have also questioned Washington’s refusal to provide more technology, especially air surveillance radar, despite the fact that most of the drugs that enter Dominican Republic is destined to US shores

 

Agribusiness leaders say top officials head import mafia

The national agribusiness leaders grouped in Confenagro yesterday said Presidency Chief of Staff Luis Manuel Bonetti and Agriculture minister Salvador Jimenez, head an import mafia which destroys the sector,

Confenagro president Eric Rivero said the officials issue import permits to 4 or 5 importers for their own profit constantly beyond the Free Trade Agreement’s quota, which in his view jeopardizes local agribusinesses. “With those untimely permits and without any type of study, the countryside is chock full of shuttered farms.”

The business leader said despite that the country’s around 58,000 dairy farmers sell milk between 4 and 5 pesos per liter, cheaper than if imported, the two officials continue privileging powdered milk imports, while the local ones have been getting paid the same for 20 years, even with an increased production.

Rivero and Wilfredo Cabrera, interviewed by the Corripio Communications Group together with Confenagro executives Hecmilio Galván, Luis Bonilla, Polo Matías and Manuel Matos, said egg producers sell the laying hen chicks at 20 pesos each, but the Agriculture Ministry issues for import permits to companies that buy them abroad sell and them for as much as 35 pesos each and profit RD$35 million.

“It seems that the business it to have a friend as an official to import the hens. They make 10 million pesos and they surely give five,” Cabrera said.

 

The corrupt beans for oil program

DominicanToday.com - The reasons why the program to swap black beans for crude in the Dominican Republic-Venezuela Petrocaribe failed, depends on who explains them.

Newspaper Diario Libre reports that Venezuela ambassador Alfredo Murgas revealed that failed planning caused Dominican Republic to supply in two years, only half of the 10,000 tons of beans stipulated.

But the Government wants to allege Caracas’ lack of interest due to prices, since the Dominican beans were sold at US$1,250 per metric ton, (including cost, insurance and freight) a price which Venezuela accepted despite being higher than other international markets.

The Petrocaribe agreement presidents Hugo Chavez and Leonel Fernandez signed on June 29, 2005, stipulates that Dominican products could pay for part of the fuels.

As of last year Dominican Republic owed US$2.02 billion to Venezuela, its partner through the Petroleum Refinery, and has to pay US$74.1 million this year. According to a Treasury Ministry report in January, US$69.8 million will be paid this year with national products, such as pastas and liquid sugar.

The black beans weren’t taken into account because, according to Treasury, Venezuela refuses to continue accepting them at the previous price, but also because of the low harvest, which led to a difficulty in paying the debt.

The farmers however clearly see the reasons behind the failure.

Víctor Matos, executive of the black bean farmers grouped in the CAU, called it the "interests" within the Government.

He said senior officials of the Treasury Ministry, which managed the program, became “just more intermediaries” who south to profit from their roles of simple coordinators.

 

Dominican President´s Statements in Congress Questioned

(Prensa Latina) Entrepreneurs, political leaders, deputies and workers agree that the speech of President Leonel Fernandez at the National Assembly, on occasion of the Independence Day, drifts away from reality.

 President of the Association of Industries Ligia Bonetti de Valiente noted that some of the statistics presented by the leader during his administration´s accountability speech do not adjust to reality and must be assessed.

Reformist Deputy Ito Bisono described Fernandez´ speech as deplorable since it does not resemble to any of the previous speeches, when he promised that there would be no place for corruption in his administration, while it has happened the other way around.

Bisono underlined that the leader used figures he adjusted his own way given that they do not resemble reality in the country.

Rector of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) Mateo Aquino Febrillet pointed out that, in matters of infrastructure, the university is at its peak, as Fernandez underlined, but the main problem of the UASD is economic.

 

The President’s close friend in yet another scandal, Diario Libre reports

Questions into three construction contracts  in Haiti granted to  Dominican companies without calls for tenders again focus on the beleaguered Felix Bautista, one of president Leonel Fernandez’s closest friends and collaborator, now senator from San Juan Province, reports newspaper Diario Libre.

But the scandal has now reached the very bowels of Haiti’s Government, where Prime Minister Garry Conille resigned his post amid the investigation, and adds to a list of scandals, including the US$130.0 million Sun Land Corporation construction contracts, which stained even the Supreme Court, when Bautista headed the State Work Engineers Supervisory Office (OISOE).

that have placed under the magnifying glass to one  the civil servants more Baptist, on who million obtained for the construction 3,000 houses have turned upside down the doubts

Port-au-Prince authorities probe the contracts with Bautista worth US$280, including the Haiti Central Bank building and a highway/./

On July 14, 2011, the San Juan senator was also cited in the money laundering case linked to Puerto Rican kinking Jose Figueroa Agosto, when Mary Peláez, who’s currently serving time, testified that she received contracts from the OISOE.

But Bautista affirmed that he did so on Fernandez’s instructions, to help her financially after the death her father, Milton Peláez.

Mary Pelaez testified that Bautista suggested that she form a shell company to get access to the RD$16 million contract, to furnish a church in the town Piedra Blanca and the State University UASD campus in Bonao.

Quoted by Diario Libre, Bautista said, “They’ve criticized the fact that I’m constructing in Haiti. I say that I’m civil engineer and I have all the right, and I was called to tender process in Haiti in which my private company participated and won…, "I will hopefully get the entire Haiti for me to rebuild it."

The lawmaker owns the companies Constructora Rofi and Constructora Hadom, which secured in construction contracts of US$280 million in Haiti.


Dominican Watchdog Note:The Dominican Republic qualify as a #1 Banana Republic! Must Read: Leonel's dark side!!

Go back | Date: 15 Mar 2012
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