Local June 13, 2024 | 8:28 am

Chamber of Deputies approves executive amendments to Chamber of Accounts Law

Santo Domingo.- During its regular session on Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies approved the Executive Branch’s amendments to the new Law of the Chamber of Accounts of the Dominican Republic. These amendments aim to grant more authority to the head of the entity to prevent potential conflicts within the plenary session.

The legislation, which was initially endorsed by the National Congress on January 26, will now be considered by the Senate. President Luis Abinader observed the law five months later and returned it to the Lower House on January 5.

The purpose of the Law is to define the powers of the Chamber of Accounts, enhance inter-institutional coordination, promote ethical, efficient, effective, and economical management of public resources, and encourage transparency and accountability among public officials and entities receiving public funds.

In a letter to Alfredo Pacheco, president of the parliamentary body, the Executive Branch presented observations on 12 articles, proposing to grant more authority to the president of the Chamber of Accounts, regulate that power, specify new infractions, and establish more sanctions to avoid conflicts among the five members of the plenary session.

President Abinader expressed concerns that certain provisions in the approved bill could hinder the Chamber of Accounts’ operations and affect the control system essential for maintaining the balance of powers and democratic institutions as outlined in article 4 of the Constitution. He received the legislation on January 3, 2024, and observed it two days later, within the period established by article 102 of the Constitution.

Rogelio A. Genao, president of the Permanent Commission of the Chamber of Accounts of the Chamber of Deputies, stated that the commission studied the Executive Branch’s observations, which were accepted. He clarified that the modifications were primarily formal and did not change the law’s substance, including clarifications on voting quorums and session types. The most significant change was the modification of the catalog of administrative offenses, improving the Law.

On January 9, the new rule was sent to the commission to study the observations, as established by articles 102 and 103 of the Substantive Law. The legislation, authored by Senator Félix Bautista (FP-San Juan), took five months to reach the Executive Branch after being endorsed by Congress on July 26, 2023.

This marks the second piece of legislation observed by the President during this four-year period, the first being the law establishing a tax incentive regime for national and international commercial civil aviation.

Before adjourning the session, Alfredo Pacheco called for the deputies to meet next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The Executive Branch’s observations on the Law of the Chamber of Accounts include the elimination of some paragraphs and numerals and the addition of other reforming points. The changes affect articles 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 41, 42, 45, 52, 53, 54, and 90. Notably, article 90 now lists 31 types of administrative infractions, up from four in the previous version, and includes sanctions ranging from 500 to 1,000 minimum wages.

Newly added infractions include abuse of authority, demanding or receiving money or rewards for duties performed, and contracting commitments on behalf of a State institution against regulations. It also penalizes the illegal collection of government income.

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