Government Ethics chief makes startling revelations
Santo Domingo.- The Presidency’s Ethics Commission President on Monday railed against former president Hipolito Mejia and news outlet acento.com.do, which he affirms was formed by friends of the former chief executive, as part of startling revelations that include an alleged US$12 million “extortion” against a British company.
The affirmation from Marino Vinicio Castillo comes in the wake of calls by the outlet for his ouster, claiming a lack of transparence in the official’s financial statement.
He said acento.com.do’s latest call for his firing by president Danilo Medina stems from a recent visit by the British Ambassador to denounce a US$12 million “extortion” with a “monstrous” ruling even from the Supreme Court. “It was a front man, I saw him in a photo behind Hipolito. When he mentioned it as extortion, I quickly realized that it had been accomplished with even a monstrous ruling by the Supreme Court,” whose Chief Justice at the time was Jorge Subero.
He said behind Mejia’s hatred for his family figure his former head of the security detain, Pedro Julio Goico (Pepe), and Hernani Salazar, a close collaborator of the former president. “Pepe bragged that he could put or erase anything he wanted in that paper, (Acento). They passed a hat around to form that paper, they held a press conference, and they even tried to link (former president) Fernandez to Jose Silvestre’s murder in La Romana, saying it was the government’s official line to silence the press.”
Castillo cited Mejia’s connection with former Agriculture Jose Michelen (1982-1986), convicted of embezzlement, “who fled and never came back.”
Castillo said it isn’t the first time that sectors linked to drug trafficking have called for his head.
He said in 1998, while then U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) director Barry McCaffrey and Attorney General Janet Reno recognized his efforts, Ernesto Samper, then President of Colombia, linked to drug traffickers, asked Fernandez to fire him. “Danilo Medina came to me and told me that Ernesto Samper wanted Fernandez to fire me, but Medina, then the Presidency Chief of Staff, said he’d rather break ties with Bogota than fire me.”
Interviewed on Channel 9 Hoy Mismo, which he called a “dangerous program,” the official cited another “unexplained” episode that took place during a 1998 study of smuggling through the country’s industrial free zones.
“The NGO Participacion Ciudadana (Citizen Participation), tried to get me fired, that is unexplained,” he said, but noted that current and former executives of the NGO are linked to Mejia, including the journalist Juan Bolivar Diaz.