Dominican journalist’s trial unveils Medina’s corrupt administration
Santo Domingo.- Journalist Marino Zapete on Tuesday slammed Dominican Republic’s government for in his view keeping dangerous and corrupt officials in the Administration, despite evidence of embezzlement, malfeasance and nepotism.
Zapete said Government Cooperative (Idecoop) director Pedro Corporan, during a hearing in the slander case against him, told a judge in court that he would “take care of Zapete with my own means.”
“Every time we went to court we had to walk alone through the alleys because employees of Idecoop and members of the PUN (Corporan’s political party) were everywhere and sometimes we would be confronted to shouting and insults,” the journalist said in the program El Despertador, on channel 9.
“On Thursday during the hearing, Corporan told the judge that regardless of his ruling, he would solve his problem with me, with a duel,” Zapete said, adding that “a colleague emailed me Monday night to tell me of how dangerous Coporan is.”
Despite that, the veteran journalist said “I’ve walked around this city all alone my entire life, unarmed.”
He accused some of the media of selling out to the corrupt officials and business interests. “During Thursday’s hearing when the journalists waited for the ruling, many of them wanted my conviction to place me as a headline.”
“I’ve been criticizing media because they are linked to corrupt officials, drug trafficking and other interests. Most media in this country is linked to the corrupt officials, they have everything, they have no problems. Corrupt journalists, big business are my enemies.”
“When Corporan went to the Supreme Court, he demanded that judges step aside. The media was there, but nothing came out in the headlines because they were not waiting for that.”
Citing a tacit threat, Zapete said an unidentified voice on the phone warned him that “we know where your son plays basketball.” He said Dominican society "can’t allow Corporan to kill my son.”
Investigative journalist Alicia Ortega first broke the scandal at Idecoop, where Corporan admitted massive nepotism in the agency and an audit by the Accounts Chamber uncovered RD$467,000 paid without receipts, among other moneys that went missing.
Zapete’s trial and subsequent acquittal add another episode to the corruption in the Administration of president Danila Medina, whose image of piousness crumbles with every new scandal.