This article first appeared in Roberto Cavada on January 03, 2021.
Implicated in Pulpo case will go to trial this year
Because administrative corruption has been one of the main concerns of Dominicans, as revealed by surveys, the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic continued 2021 the actions initiated in 2020 to combat this scourge, and with it, impunity.
These proceedings by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Attorney General Miriam German Brito and Deputy Attorneys General Yeni Berenice Reynoso and Wilson Camacho, of General Prosecution and Prosecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA), respectively, resulted in dozens of raids, which led to the preventive detention of dozens of people implicated in four multi-million corruption cases.
The first raids of the current administration of the Attorney General’s Office took place on November 29, 2020, through the execution of Operation Antipulpo, where Juan Alexis and Carmen Magalys Medina Sanchez, brothers of Danilo Medina, who had left the Presidency of the Republic on August 16 of that year, were arrested along with nine others.
They also arrested Francisco Pagán Rodríguez, former director of the OISOE; Lorenzo Wilfredo Hidalgo Núñez, former Minister of Public Health; Rafael Antonio Germosén Andújar, former Comptroller General of the Republic, and Fernando A. Rosa Rosa, former president of FONPER; as well as Aquiles Alejandro Christopher Sánchez, Domingo Antonio Santiago Muñoz, Julián Esteban Suriel Suazo, José Dolores Santana Carmona and Wacal Bernabé Méndez Pineda.
Last December 17, the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented the accusation and the request for the indictment of those implicated, whose file indicates that Aracelis and Lucía Medina Sánchez, also sisters of the former president Danilo Medina, participated in the materialization of the referred acts of corruption.
Likewise, the accusing body included in the indictment: Rafael Leonidas De Óleo, Libni Arodi Valenzuela Matos, Paola Mercedes Molina Suazo, Carlos Martín Montes de Oca, Víctor Matías Encarnación Montero, Francisco Ramón Brea Morel, Rigoberto Alcántara Batista, Carlos José Alarcón Veras, Lewyn Ariel Castillo Robles, Lina Ercilia De La Cruz Vargas, Antonio Florentino Méndez, Pachristy Emmanuel Ramirez Pacheco, José Miguel Genao Torres, María Isabel De Los Milagros Torres Castellanos, against whom a trial was requested.
Meanwhile, Juan Alexis Medina Sánchez, Francisco Pagán Rodríguez, Fernando Rosa, Aquiles Alejandro Christopher Sánchez, Julián Esteban Suriel Suazo, José Dolores Santana Carmona and Wacal Bernabé Méndez Pineda are remanded in custody in Najayo Men.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo Wilfredo Hidalgo Núñez, Carmen Magalys Medina Sánchez and Rafael Antonio Germosén Andújar are under house arrest. The defendants are accused of criminal association, fraud against the State, illicit enrichment, among other criminal offenses.
In the year 2021, the Attorney General’s Office continued with the investigation and dismantling of alleged corruption schemes, producing the first arrests on April 24, through the execution of the so-called Operation Coral, which led to the jail of the Palace of Justice of Ciudad Nueva, Major General Adams B. Cáceres Silvestre, former security chief of former President Danilo Medina, as well as Pastor Rossy Guzmán Sánchez and three others linked to a corruption network.
Through the execution of the referred operation, in which 18 raids were carried out, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for the Prosecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA) and the General Directorate of Prosecution of the Public Ministry, headed by Deputy Prosecutors Wilson Camacho and Yeni Berenice Reynoso, respectively, also arrested Rafael Núñez de Aza, Raúl Alejandro Girón Jiménez and Tanner Antonio Flete Guzmán.
After several days of hearings to hear the coercive measure, the main implicated, Major General Adán Cáceres Silvestre, was sent to the Najayo Hombres prison for 18 months of preventive detention, even though he defended himself even with the bible before the Court.
Also accompanying him in the same prison and for the same period, the colonel and sergeant of the National Police, Rafael Núñez de Aza, and Alejandro José Montero Cruz, respectively, as well as the corporal of the same institution and son of the pastor Tanner Antonio Flete Guzmán, who spent Christmas 2021 and received 2022 behind bars and distanced from their loved ones.
Pastor Rossy Guzmán also suffered the same fate, but in the Najayo Mujeres prison, where she also spent Christmas.
To preserve his safety, Raúl Alejandro Girón Jiménez was sent to house arrest, where he remains under the custody and protection of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, after collaborating in the investigation with the accusing body.
The raids and arrests that aroused most interests in the population and public opinion were those carried out during the launching of “Operation Medusa”, which involved the former Attorney General of the Republic, Jean Alain Rodríguez as the main protagonist, who was not arrested in the raids of Monday, June 28, because he had left his apartment, being arrested the next day at the PGR, where he went after having given several interviews in the media.
In Operation Medusa, where 38 raids were carried out in the National District, La Vega and La Romana, in addition to the former attorney general, the following were also arrested: Miguel José de Moya, former advisor of the Attorney General’s Office; Rafael Antonio Mercedes Marte, former head of the Accounting Department; Altagracia Guillén Calzado, former deputy administrative director; Javier Alejandro Forteza Ibarra, former director of Information Technology; Jhonatan Rodríguez and Alfredo Solano.
Of the defendants, in this case, Jean Alain Rodríguez, Jhonatan Rodríguez, and Javier Alejandro Forteza Ibarra spent Christmas in prison, even though on several occasions they requested a variation of the measure.
The other prisoners were given a less severe measure, consisting of house arrest, periodic presentation, economic guarantee, an impediment to leaving the country, among others. The accused are charged with criminal association, fraud against the State, bribery, coalition of officials, falsification of public documents, identity theft, electronic crimes, and money laundering.
To close the year, on 17 November, the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out Operation Coral 5G, which stems from the already mentioned “Operation Coral”, involving three generals, colonels, and other lower officers, whose list is headed by the former director of the Specialized Corps for Tourist Security (Cestur), Carlos Torres Robiú as the main protagonist, as well as generals Julio Camilo De Los Santos Viola and Boanerges Reyes Batista, deputy chief of the Specialized Corps for Presidential Security (Cusep).
These three officers are being held in the Najayo Hombres prison for 18 months, as well as Captain Franklin Antonio Mata Flores, Colonel Pilot Yehudy Blandesmil Guzmán Alcántara and Major José Manuel Rosario Pirón.
Meanwhile, lieutenant colonel Erasmo Roger Pérez, colonel Miguel Ventura Pichardo, first lieutenant Jehohanan Lucía Rodríguez Jiménez and civilians César Félix Ramos Ovalle and Esmeralda Ortega became collaborators of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and were placed under house arrest as a coercive measure.
While to lieutenant colonel Kelman Santana Martínez and paratrooper colonel Carlos Augusto Lantigua Cruz, the judge of the Permanent Attention Office of the National District, Kenya Romero, imposed as coercive measure periodic presentation and impediment to leave the country.
Government officials also fell
The efforts of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to fight administrative corruption also reached officials of the current Government, being the executive director of the National Lottery, Luis Maisichell Dicent the first to be arrested, through the launching of “Operation 13”.
In the operations, William Lisandro Rosario Ortiz, Valentina Rosario Cruz, Jonathan Brea, Carlos Berigüete, Miguel Mejía, Felipe Santiago Toribio, Rafael Mesa, Eladio Batista Valerio and Edison Manuel Perdomo Peralta, who are accused of carrying out a fraudulent lottery with the number 13, were also arrested.
Maisichell Dicent, Williams Lisandro Rosario Ortiz, and Eladio Batista are being held in prison in Najayo as coercive measures, while the others were given less severe measures.
These four cases are the ones that led to arrests, whose implicated are pending trial to determine their guilt or innocence.
Those who have been investigated and are not in jail
Although the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out a raid on the Chamber of Accounts on February 21, for alleged irregularities in the performance of audits, none of those responsible are in prison to date.
Other former officials of the past and present Government, who have paraded before the Attorney General’s Office for questioning are: Kimberly Taveraz, Minister of Youth at that time; Diandino Peña, former director of the Office for the Reorganization of Transportation (Opret); Adán Peguero, suspended director of the Dominican Postal Institute (Inposdom); Donald Guerrero, former Minister of Finance, among others.