|DominicanToday.com - The head of the Government’s Anticorruption Department (DPCA) affirmed Thursday that the justice system isn’t able punish corrupt politicians, because in the last 10 years RD$104.0 billion have been embezzled just in the major cases.
Hotoniel Bonilla said from 2000 to 2010 more than 95% of the corruption cases have gone unpunished, because those who’ve been condemned "are the little ones."
He said those cases of alleged corruption are those which have been investigated and submitted to Justice. “The social state of law that we conceived supposedly in the Constitution has a fault of origin and it’s that we the citizens in this country aren’t equal, nor we the officials are equal."
Bonilla said he bases his criterion on what he’s been able to verify throughout the six years in the DPCA. "When we send X public servant of a lower hierarchy to the courts the evident is sufficient, the appeals are declared inadmissible and they serve out their sentences."
However the Assistant DA warned that "when they are powerful there’s no way to condemn them"
Update September 8th 2010
Despite stealing more than RD$100B from Dominican taxpayers, few officials see jail
Although government officials have stolen more than RD$100 billion from Dominican taxpayers, only a few thieves go behind bars.
Anticorruption Department (DPCA) director Hotoniel the mayor of a small town has been convicted of embezzling a mere 5 Bonilla said Monday that although many of the heads of the companies accused of embezzlement had been convicted, many have been subsequently acquitted.
He said he decided to reveal the statistics as diverse sectors had demanded, mostly from the concern stated by the cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez.
Bonilla invited “some people who walk around frothing their hands to review it (the report),” which he said includes major cases from 2000 to 2010, with 19 government and private institutions.
Bonilla’s list includes the allocation of vehicles in the Land Transport Technical Office (OTTT), of RD$ 240 million; embezzlement of funds of the social programs (PEME), more than RD$2,400 million; embezzlement in the allocation of vehicles in INESPRE; RD$75 million; the RD$200 million fraud in propane gas; RD$1.3 billion swindle in the allocation of houses in the official agency INVI.
The official also noted the RD$500 million embezzlement in the greenhouses program; the RD$2.01 billion embezzlement of the sovereign bonds to build the Electrical Freeway and the more than RD$8.7 million in forged checks in the buses office OMSA.
Another acquitted or partially convicted case is the RD$10.5 million in turbines of the Dominican Air Force (FAD) jets.
The only convictions of Government officials were the Municipal Board of El Puerto, in Villa Altagracia, in an embezzlement of more than five million pesos, and the head of the Border Development Office director Yorman Vazquez, sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling several million pesos.
Bonilla added that other private sector convictions include the banks Mercantil (RD$8.5 billion), Baninter (RD$55 billion), and the RD$22.5 billion in Bancréditok which is pending sentencing.
Update September 14th 2010
Journalist detects another Dominican Government scandal
Despite that an Accounts Chamber audit two years ago found serious irregularities -from illegal payments, excessive expenses and nepotism- in the government agency that manages the nation’s assets (AGBN), the scandal was not made public light and charges were never filed.
The journalist Nuria Piera made the new exposé in her weekly program, which found several payrolls, including one of personals services in which RD$480 million was spent two years ago.
The investigative journalist found 19 deputy directors in the AGBN, only three of which have a function, with an annual payroll of RD$13 million, and who get perks such as per diem and vehicle expenses.
She also reports that 12 people get monthly checks from RD$10,000 to RD$20,000 but don’t do any work.
"The previously cited situations indicate that the AGBN authorities don’t place enough importance on the laws that regulate its operations, far from protecting the agency’s best interests by not evaluating the possibility of not paying any person who doesn’t do any work to benefit it," the audit states.
According to the AGBN’s financial statement the administrator Elías Wessin Chávez earns RD$75,000 monthly, plus RD$52,250 in “representation expenses,” RD$61,750 for vehicle expenses; RD$95,000 per diem, for a total of RD$294,000 monthly.
The entity’s deputy directors Mercedes Ramirez, Lorenzo Valdez and Jacobo de Leon Garrido earn, aside from their salary, perks of RD$142,500 each.
Piera also revealed that that members of the minority party PQDC’s Central Committee, presided by Wessin Chávez, hold senior posts in the AGBN.
As to nepotism the news article found that the Accounts Chamber audit determined that in 2008, Wessin designated his brother Narciso, director of the Security Department with a salary of RD$44,500; his wife Angie Romero as Adviser to the Administration, with RD$25,000 and to Luisa Hernandez, his cousing, with RD$38,550.
Moreover the report found that the officials’ sons, nieces, wives, daughters and brothers are paid checks as “assistants” and other non-working posts as high as RD$32,000 monthly.
Piera reports that the government agency even pays for Wessin’s house cook, while the official affirmed that he will respond the denunciation this week.