Suicide note shows Medina officials entrenched in corruption
Santo Domingo.- A letter left by David Rodríguez, 40, the architect who took his own life on alleged debts in the millions has led to the discovery of a ring of apparent scammers in the corruption-riddled State Supervisory Engineers Office (OISOE), which president Danilo Medina has yet to address despite its history of scandals.
In his letter Rodriguez mentioned Alejandro de los Santos, a former employee of OISOE) and Joel Santos, current employee, will be interrogated 10am Monday by Laura Guerrero in the Justice Ministry´s Anticorruption Office (Pepca).
She said the investigation found evidence that could lead to criminal charges against both men. “It’s a process that can result in criminal liability with all that entails.”
History of corruption
Since created during the last administration of late president Joaquin Balaguer in the early 1990s, the OISOE has been the target of widespread embezzlement, including the Sunland Corp. scandal with senator Felix Bautista alleged graft of over US$100.0 million.
Also linked to the OISOE is the Peravia Bank fraud case, in which the recently-fired OISOE director Miguel Pimentel Kareh allegedly operated a scam with the insurance company Union de Seguros.
Sep 28, 2015
UPDATE: Investigation into architect’s suicide declaration
Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret held a press conference yesterday, Monday 28 September 2015 accompanied by Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo, the Office of Supervising Engineers of State Works (OISOE) director Francisco Pagan and the Dominican College of Architects, Engineers and Surveyors (CODIA) president Francisco Mosquea to address the complaints about a so-called mafia with accomplices in the Ministry of Education and the OISOE that mainly affects government contractors.
The suicide of an OISOE contractor, architect David Rodriguez Garcia in a bathroom at the OISOE offices last week has opened “a can of worms” exposing the government contracting system. In his suicide note Rodriguez accused two men, including an OISOE employee, of being “thieves.”
The OISOE is probably the most scandal-prone government body. Its former director Hector Pimentel Kareh was removed from his post following allegations of large-scale corruption. Pimentel’s predecessor, now senator and PLD organizational secretary Felix Bautista is perhaps the most notorious case of rags-to-riches in the Dominican Republic. Pimentel has not been sent to trial, and Bautista, despite a huge amount of evidence of corruption in office presented by the Attorney General, has so far maneuvered to ensure his case is not heard. The OISOE operates in parallel to the Ministry of Public Works, but with less transparency as it is funded from the President’s Office budget.
At the press conference, Amarante Baret promised a thorough investigation into any acts of corruption connected with the construction of schools and that anyone found responsible would be sent to justice “if proof of allegations is presented.”
Indirectly acknowledging the lengthy delays in payments that enable the so-called mafias to operate, he announced the formation of a working group to ensure payments to engineers involved in building state schools were speeded up and the system improved.
Both Amarante Baret as well as the president of Codia said that until the engineer committed suicide last week, they had not received any complaints of corruption in the school construction process.
The architect, who won the contract in a Ministry of Education contest, completed the Francisco del Rosario Sanchez public school in Yamasa in November 2014, but was not paid until the 25th of September 2015, the same day he committed suicide when he realized that the RD$6 million payment would not cover the debts he had incurred for the construction, including what he had borrowed from the so-called internal mafia.
At the Francisco del Rosario Sanchez public school in Yamasa, built by the deceased architect, the flag flew at half-mast in his memory. 278 children from first to 8th grade attend the elementary school. Principal Cesar de la Cruz told El Caribe that the remodeling began in 2013 and was completed in November 2014. He said they were greatly saddened by the architect’s death because he was a good person who was involved in the community. He said the last time he spoke to the architect, about two months ago, Rodriguez was very concerned about the debts that were piling up.
Meanwhile, the two men mentioned in the suicide note written by architect David Rodriguez Garcia shortly before shooting himself in the bathroom at OISOE last week, Yoel Soriano and Alejandro de los Santos were interviewed by the Specialized Prosecution Unit against Administrative Corruption (PEPCA). They attended the interview accompanied by their lawyers Carlos Lake, Juan Perez and Victor Cuevas. Administrative Anti-Corruption prosecutor, Laura Guerrero said that the two engineers admitted that they had roles within the OISOE and exercised a series of “favors”.
Yesterday, Monday, 28 September 2015 the president of the Confederation of Small Contractors, Eliseo Christopher, denounced the Office of Supervisory Works of the State (OISOE) and the ministries of Education and Public Works, saying that “there is a mafia” within the institutions that pressurizes engineers to take on loans at high interest rates under the threat of losing the works that they won in the contests if these are not completed on time, despite the lack of payment. Christopher said that the government owes millions to the contractors, many of whom have already completed the works. He said there were hundreds of cases involving billions owed to the contractors for periods of as much as two years after completing the contracted works.
In response to the tragic incident, the OISOE announced that it was installing weapon detection devices in order to prevent anyone else from entering the offices with a gun.
Source: DR1, Hoy
Sep 29, 2015
Category: DR News |