Local May 11, 2016 | 5:08 pm

Dominican Republic President ‘is linked to Brazil scandal’

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s major opposition party(PRM) on Wednesday said president Danilo Medina is directly linked to thequestioned tenders to build two coal-fired power plants by the Braziliancompany Odebrecht, as part of the widening Petrobras scandal.

In a press conference, PRM president Andres Bautista said inApril 2012, during the tenure of Celso Marranzini in the State-owned ElectricUtility (CDEEE), the international tender No. 01-11-CDEEE resulted with sixinternational companies prequalifying to build and operate at their own costseveral coal power plants including Punta Catalina, and natural gas-fired plantsof 260 megawatts each.

"In this scheme the Dominican State would not have hadto invest a single penny, only buy through with a long-term contract, all theenergy that these plants would produce," said the PRM leader.

They said as soon as Medina took office in August 2012, insteadof continuing the bidding process, Marranzini canceled it and opened another inearly 2013 (CDEEE Bidding – LPI 01-2013) in which the government awarded theirconstruction to a group headed by Odebrecht at a cost of US$2.04 billion,payable by issuing debt and disbursements from the national budget.

"President Medina chose to indebt the country for morethan 2.04 billion dollars instead of accepting that private business build the 1,000megawatt plants at no cost to the state," Bautista said.

In the press conference Bautista cited an alleged emailsent by Marcelo Odebrecht to Brazil president Dilma Rousseff in August 2012,which emerged in the operation Lava Jato, which unleashed the scandal. “The headof the Brazilian firm suggested that it was important that Rousseff speak ofthe confidence she has in Odebrecht and BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank), forthe financing arrangement for the contractor’s projects.

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