Small business to have it easier in the future
Oxfam study puts numbers to political patronage and wasteful spending
Felucho apologizes to Vice President Cedeño
Jiménez argued that the Vice President apparently did not hear in full the TV
Willy de Jesús Núñez, again a no show
Prosecutors: Extortion thought to be motive for Yuniol Ramirez crime
Eddy Santana accused only of corruption
El Dia: Rivas, Rosario, Santana, dark background details
El Grande lawyers say he was out of town when Yuniol Ramírez murder occurred
Is your courier in a tax free zone?
Winners of Brugal Awards announced
Nick Hardt makes U18 top 100 ranking in tennis
Winter Professional Baseball wrap-up

Small business to have it easier in the future
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and SMEs announced measures that would be taken by the government to reduce the tax burden on small and medium sized businesses and encourage more businesses to formalize their organization.

Minister of Industry and Commerce and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Nelson Toca Simo, spoke at the opening of the Semana Mipymes at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel last weekend. The conference focused on promoting small businesses with Toca Simo highlighting the importance of the implementation of a single payment system and the elimination of the advance tax payments on companies. These measures would benefit companies with sales under RD$8 million a year and less than 10 employees, that represents 96% of all businesses in the country.

Toca said that companies will be able to apply for a simplified regime for social security and during the first three years of incorporation will only be responsible for health and labor risk charges.

Other initiatives of the Ministry include the simplifying of reporting procedures and the implementation of the Ley de Garantias Mobiliarias, the law of asset assurance guarantees that will improve small business access to bank credit.

Oxfam study puts numbers to political patronage and wasteful spending
Oxfam has presented a study that seeks to focus people’s attention on wasteful spending in government in the Dominican Republic. The study seeks to identify areas where inefficiency and political patronage prevails, and to give a size to corruption in pesos, as well as create an awareness of how all those resources could be invested in activities that serve to guarantee the right to a better life for the vast majority of people in the Dominican Republic. The study was carried out by Rafael Jovine and Rosa Cañete.

Raul del Rio, Oxfam director for the Dominican Republic, says that despite the high levels of economic growth of 5.1% on average from 2011 to 2015, the country has not been able to significantly reduce poverty. He stresses the importance of fiscal policies in reducing inequality and providing opportunities.

The study seeks to contribute to the analysis of decision makers for increasing quality, efficiency and transparency of public spending, especially since National Development Strategy Law calls for discussions leading to a Fiscal Pact.

Transparency International and Latinobarómetro have identified the high levels of perception of corruption in the Dominican Republic. The studies point to the perception of corruption in the DR being 66% more than the regional media for Latin America. The analysts conservatively estimate that corruption in the DR is more than RD$27 billion in 2017, equal to 0.7% of GDP for 2017.

The Oxfam study estimated that 2.5% of GDP is not efficiently spent every year, for an estimated RD$90.9 billion in 2017. This is a conservative number when compared to other references on the cost of corruption in the Dominican Republic mentioned in the report, including the detail that in 1995, prior to reaching the Presidency, former President Leonel Fernandez of the ruling PLD, had estimated corruption was no less than RD$30 billion in 1995 at a time when the total National Budget for the year was RD$26 billion.

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report for 2017 established that the DR is ranked 131rd of 137 countries in efficient spending and 135th of 137 countries in detouring of government resources.

The study alerts that if nothing is changed, every year there will be less monetary resources to guarantee the rights of the people.

Felucho apologizes to Vice President Cedeño
The president of the National Petroleum Refinery and former Minister of Tourism, Felix Jiménez (Felucho), has apologized to Vice President Margarita Cedeño for his comment last week that became a trending topic on social media.

The remark was made when Jiménez was asked about the popularity of Margarita Cedeño that a recent Mark Penn poll ranked as among the best positioned pre-candidates for the 2020 presidential election. Cedeño has managed a major budget for social programs ever since she was a two-term First Lady when Leonel Fernandez was President. The comment made by Felucho was that a Vice President “only decides what will be cooked in her house.”

Vice President Margarita Cedeño promptly tweeted back:
"I refuse to believe that a man who claims to be a champion of cutting edge ideas, is the author of a phrase so primitive, typical of misogynists and ignorant. With his response, Felucho showed that he is baking in resentment when he sees women stand out and are valued.”

Jiménez argued that the Vice President apparently did not hear in full the TV interview and the context in which the phrase was expressed. Only that specific phrase that was interpreted as Vice President Cedeño being restricted to the stereotypical domain of the kitchen hit the fans of social media.

Later, the outspoken politician said it was never his intention to offend the Vice President. On the TV program Hoy Mismo on Thursday, 19 October 2017.
Jiménez said that his statement was taken out of context. He said: “What I tried to say was that a Vice President of the Republic, and I referred also to Augusto Lora and Jacinto Peynado, does what they are told”. He said a vice president is a person who exercises functions delegated by the President.

Willy de Jesús Núñez, again a no show
San Cristóbal Judge Willy de Jesús Núñez did not make himself available for questioning at the Supreme Court of Justice last week as expected. He is being investigated for his favorable ruling that allowed for the transfer from the San Cristóbal jail of Najayo to San Francisco de Macorís jail of sentenced murderer Pedro Alejandro Castillo Paniagua (alias Quirinito). Quirinito later would obtain another authorization on grounds of suffering from terminal mouth cancer for domiciliary arrest. His wife said he had died, and produced a death certification, but the whereabouts of his corpse are not known. The authorities have reason to believe Paniagua is on the run and have requested International Police cooperation for his arrest.

San Francisco de Macorís judge Aleyda Jiménez Acosta would grant domiciliary arrest to Quirinito on grounds of his terminal cancer after the transfer to a jail in San Francisco de Macoris.

Núñez reportedly had traveled to Panama, but had missed a first summons for questioning on 18 October 2017, and another on Friday, 20 October that he also missed.

Prosecutors: Extortion thought to be motive of Yuniol Ramirez crime
Prosecutors investigating the murder of UASD law professor Yuniol Ramírez Ferreras continue to maintain the theory that the lawyer could have refused to sign a receipt for an alleged RD$1 million as an advance of RD$4 million to drop a corruption case in the judiciary against removed Omsa director Manuel Rivas was the motive for the murder.

They have presented evidence of a surveillance video of the gas station on Av. Rómulo Betancourt corner Caonabo that supposedly shows Ramírez receiving an envelope – supposedly the RD$1 million, from Omsa supplier Eddy Rafael Santana Zorrilla.

The lawyer was murdered on 11 October 2017, after being kidnapped from the UASD parking lot. His body was later found in Manoguayabo River, chained to two blocks.

El Nacional reported that the video shows that Ramírez met with Santana Zorrilla and the assistant of the director of the Omsa, Argenis Contreras at the station. Contreras is suspect of having fired the shot that killed the university professor.

But from day one, the family of Yuniol Ramírez has denied he was extorting the director of the Omsa. Ramón Ramírez, brother of the victim, says that the authorities want to give the case a political tint. He demands that the proof of the RD$1 million his brother would have received to desist from the case against the Omsa director.

A source close to the prosecutor investigation said: “What it looks like, is that the lack of trust of Argentis Contreras regarding Yuniol Ramírez, because he refused to sign the discharge that he had received the money. That receipt is in the papers that in the video one can see that Yuniol Ramirez takes in his hands inside the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV when he had met with Eddy Santana.” He explained that raised doubts in Argenis Contreras, who shared this with colonel Faustino Rosario Diaz, and he told him that Ramirez would demand much more money than what had been agreed upon and would never leave them alone.

Ramon Ramírez, brother of murdered lawyer Yuniol Ramírez, has produced a second video that he says is evidence against the prosecutors’ theory that in the fueling station his brother would have received extortion money. Ramirez speculates the video captures how a yellow manila envelope in which he understands carried cash was to pay for those that would murder his brother and says his brother did not receive the manila envelope as captured by the surveillance cameras. He says that the prosecutors are confusing a black Toyota Road Runner with the black Chevrolet Tahoe in which his brother arrived to the gas station.

Eddy Santana accused only of corruption
Eddy Santana Zorrilla is under pre-trial custody, accused of corruption, and criminal association. The accusation says that he was a supplier to Omsa through Grupo Martisdom and Tech Solution.

The prosecutors established that neither of these companies has a formal office location. These companies also did not any staff registered with the Ministry of Labor. From 2012 to 29 September 2017, Tech Solution received online payments from Omsa for a total of RD$447 million, while Grupo Matisdom received from 2016, more than RD$47.6 million, while reporting losses.

In the case filed by the Santo Domingo North prosecutors, Santana is not tied to the murder of lawyer Yuniol Ramirez that prosecutors say continues under investigation. The family of the late Ramírez had complained that Santana had been left out of the murder case.

El Dia: Rivas, Rosario, Santana, dark background details
From 2013 to 2015, Police colonel Faustino Rosario Díaz, who is among those arrested for the murder of lawyer Yuniol Ramírez, purchased assets worth RD$17.2 million after entering the service of the Metropolitan Office of Bus Services (Omsa), as reported in El Dia. Rosario is under pre-trial custody and suspected of involvement in the murder of Ramirez.

In 2013, the police colonel was named financial manager at Omsa. On 14 October of that year he is known to have purchased a farm in Boca Chica worth RD$8 million. Other items obtained in 2015 were valued at an RD$5.7 million apartment, a 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser valued at RD$3.5 million.

In a personal financial statement issued, Rosario Díaz says the assets were purchased with his own resources and those of his wife, Rosa Peña Sosa, who is an executive at the corporation Ramel Corporation SRL. The company is a supplier to Omsa.

Rosario was on the payroll of the Omsa making RD$75,000 while he was paid RD$38,000 a month as a Police colonel.

In addition, El Dia reports that Santana Zorrilla was previously in the media spotlight after an audit in 2010 carried out to the Ministry of Public Health, revealed that companies owned by Santana were benefitted by contracts that the Chamber of Accounts identified as irregular. The contract work was for more than RD$100 million, including Isumit Auto Parts, C. por A.

Manuel Rivas, the fired director of the Omsa, is the second former director of Omsa who is tied to murder after managing the institution. Rivas was preceded by transporter Arsenio Quevedo, who is in pre-trial custody for contract killing. He worked as deputy technical director of Omsa, while at the same time being a president of a transport union. Rivas was appointed to the position in 2012 despite being preceded by several charges of irregularities made in the press but was never investigated by state control agencies until the death of Ramírez.

El Grande lawyers say he was out of town when Yuniol Ramírez murder occurred
Lawyers of Jose Mercado Blanco (El Grande) have requested videos from the surveillance cameras of La Sirena store in Santiago de los Caballeros and Jacaranda in Monsenor Nouel. The lawyers, Junel Ramírez Merán and Olmedo Antonio Jaquez Peña say that their defendant was not in Santo Domingo when the murder of UASD law professor Yuniol Ramírez occurred on 11 October 2017. They say this can be ascertained by video cameras in the entrance to the La Sirena and the cafeteria area of Jacaranda in Monseñor Nouel province.

The lawyers for Mercado Blanco have requested that the authorities check the videos from 10am to 12 noon and 2 to 4pm to prove the presence of the accused in these businesses. The lawyers urge the videos be promptly requested to avoid the information being erased.

During the hearing for pre-trial custody, Jose Mercado Blanco said he was not in the city when the murder occurred. He said he was in Santiago on Omsa business. Mercado said he was tortured and coerced by the Police to provide a written statement. This statement contradicts his confession to participating in the crime made in a written statement confessing details on the crime and his role in kidnapping the lawyer.

Is your courier in a tax free zone?
Vimenpaq is promoting its courier service on grounds that purchases made and sent to the Vimenpaq address in Doral, Florida will not pay US taxes when ordering from Amazon online.

Giselle Mendez, president of Vimenpaq, said that so far Vimenpaq is the only freight forwarding company passing on this benefit to customers. The reason they can do this is because the shipping address of Vimenpaq at 7801 NW 37th Street, Doral FL 33195, Miami, Florida has been designated a tax free zone for online purchases.

As reported on DR1 Forums other couriers are allowing customers to claim back sales tax by calling in and informing them the purchase was shipped to a freight forwarder, with final destination outside of Florida and to be used and consumed outside of Florida.

Winners of Brugal Awards announced
Fundacion Solidaria Calasancia is the winner of the RD$5 million award this year by the Brugal rum foundation. The Gran Premio George Arzeno Brugal was announced on Friday, 20 October 2017.

Other winners are:
Social Assistance: Centro Geriaátrico San Joaquin y Santa Ana
Salud: Patronato de Lucha contra el Cancer de la Provincia Espaillat
Defensa y Protección al Medio Ambiente: Fundación Propagas
Arte y Cultura: Academia Dominicana de la Historia
Educación: Fundacion Solidaria Calasancia
Desarrollo Comunitario: Instituto de Acción Comunitaria (IDAC)

Nick Hardt makes U18 top 100 ranking in tennis
17-year old Nick Hardt continues to climb in the international tennis world and is now ranked in the top 100 of the Under 18 ranking of the International Tennis Federation. This is a second time for a Dominican youth to make the top 100. Hardt is a DR-US dual citizen. He recently lost in the third set to Andrew Fenty, ranked 33rd in juniors in the world. The first youth to make the top 100 was Jose (Bebo) Hernández, who in 2008 was ranked 37th.

Hardt has been part of the Dominican Republic national Davis Cup team, and is the youngest Dominican to climb to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking at 1,764 in the world.

Winter Professional Baseball wrap-up
The Estrellas Orientales have gotten a fast start in the local 2017-2018 Professional Baseball Winter League, having won all but one of their first six games. The Estrellas have a record of starting off well, but have never managed to win a championship. Nevertheless, they are known for their diehard fans who enjoy the games at the Tetelo Vargas Ball Park in San Pedro de Macoris.
The Gigantes del Cibao, the other underdog of the league, and the Leones del Escogido, the capital city team, are half a game behind, having won 5 and lost only two games.
The 20116-2017 Champions, the Tigres del Licey are in fourth place with 2 wins and five losses. But La Romana team, the Toros del Este just has not managed a win since the start of the tournament on 13 October 2017.

Check out the league statistics at:

See the calendar for the tournament at: