Local August 19, 2016 | 4:15 pm

Dominican Republic senator at center of cross-border graft scandal

Santo Domingo.- Haiti’sSenate Ethics Anticorruption and Commission has rendered a report stressingthat the more than US$3.8 billion received from Petrocaribe oil agreement tosupport that nation has prompted society to perceive that a part of it was usedto "help personally enrich some leaders who were in charge of managingit."

The revelations in the report form part of a cross-border scandalof alleged graft at the center of which figures the powerful Dominican senatorFelix Bautista, of the ruling PLD party.

The report lists the top alleged culprits were thefollowing presidents and prime ministers, with the respective amounts under theircontrol:

"Therefore, the transactions analyzed were made by theadministrations of Préval / Pierre-Louis (September 2008 – October 2009) US$197,500,000;Preval / Bellerive (November 2009 – May 2011) US$348,240,830; Martelly /Conille (November 2011 – May 2012) US$210,303,222; Martelly / Lamothe (May 2012- December 2014) US$668,315,429; and Martelly / Paul (January 2015 – March2016) US$280,003,698."

It suggests judicial action against companies andindividuals who violated or circumvented the emergency laws, to obtain works orwhich have yet to conclude, Dominican companies among them.

The call for prosecution was made against former prime ministersJean Max Bellerive and Laurent Lamothe, as well as several former ministers ofPublic Works, Finance, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Rural Development, andHealth.

In its report that the commission said "justice shouldask for an explanation of those contracts with retroactive effect fromresolutions adopted in 2013, 2014 and 2015, to make them fall within the periodof emergency that ended in November 2012. The move is disgraceful and show, ifnecessary, that these administrations have deliberately scoffed at the law to avertany control by the National Public Procurement Commission (NSCLC). "

It refers to companies headed by Bautista, all three havingthe same owner, including Hadom and Rofi, which figure as donors to severalHaitian political.

“The investigation confirmed the suspicions of nepotism andgraft and corruption in the management of this program. In fact, the use ofmechanism from direct allocation or restricted tender for the award of publiccontracts facilitated the signing of contracts to the detriment of theinterests of the State. Officials authorized, for example, three companiesbelonging to the same people to bid for contracts totaling several hundredmillion dollars, which allowed them to obtain all without competition,” thereport says, quoted by acento.com.

The commission suggests a wider investigation into thecompanies that allegedly ballooned cost of the works, including Hadom andConstructora Rofi and RNM and SOTEC, among others.

It also confirmed the bribes to Haitian politicians whoreceived money from Bautista’s accounts, particularly former presidential candidateMirlande Manigat and former president Michael Martelly.

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