Dominican Government officials collide over Menendez case
Santo Domingo.- The scandal unleashed last week after reports of a questioned interrogation by two FBI agents investigating the allegations against Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has set the stage for a confrontation between two powerful families of attorneys with close ties to Danilo Medina’s Administration, and a showdown between two senior officials.
The months-long bitter dispute between Justice minister Francisco Dominguez and Government Ethics Commission president Marino Vinicio Castillo escalated on Monday, when Castillo’s son, the also prominent attorney Vinicio Castillo Seman, questioned Dominguez’s “silence” in the widening scandal.
“Until now this official has kept silence and a silence that makes us think that Police general Castro Castillo’s version adheres to the truth, so we’re evidencing the top Prosecutor as a person able to sweep away all the constitutional , institutional, criminal procedure and sovereignty, in a vain attempt to give credibility to a conspiracy (scripted video) against senator Menendez,” Vinicio Castillo said in reference to the police official who revealed the interrogation of maids who work in the villa of wealthy eye doctor and Menendez collaborator, Salomon Melgen.
In a statement quoted by listin.com.do, Vinicio Castillo said despite that his father denounced the incident on February 22, and that it’s been one week since the two FBI agents interrogated the two maids at the La Romana police precinct, without a warrant or lawyer present, and being illegally held, Dominguez has “strangely” kept quiet over the case.
The statement is the latest attack on Dominguez’s actions as top prosecutor, as some government officials complain he prefers to proceed in cases involving government figures such as former president Leonel Fernandez and his close friend and collaborator Senator Felix Bautista, but holds back on those connected to opposition politicians charged with embezzlement.
The spat however isn’t expected to end any time soon, as Dominguez is also known for his ability to cope with the pitfalls of his office.