Gloria Reyes asks to audit her predecessor; former Vice President Margarita Cedeño responds

Gloria Reyes, director of the Superate social program

Gloria Reyes, the director of the government social assistance agency that manages the Superate Program, has requested that the Chamber of Accounts carry out an audit to the entity she directs, back-tracing it to 2012. Reyes is also asking for an audit of the program’s budget execution from 16 August 2020 to 31 December 2022, the years she has been the program’s manager.

The Superate program has been in the news after a multi-millionaire fraud was detected when cardholders complained they had not received their RD$1,600 monthly allotments. An investigation revealed that around 300,000 social assistant electronic cards could have been cloned.

Legislators of the leading opposition party, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), have been demanding that Reyes respond to how the fraud happened and why the department did not act before the cardholders complained. No one at the department has been arrested. Only colmado owners have been arrested.

As reported in El Dia, Reyes explained that around 90,000 of the 100,000 cardholders affected have received new cards. She said the cards were forged using the numbering and information and that it was carried out in the stores affiliated to the program that were authorized through the Veriphone service of the Social Subsidies Administration (ADESS), another government entity. She said 86 merchants have been suspended for irregular or suspicious transactions and 15 of these are investigated by the Public Prosecution Office.

She explained that Supérate does not administer the subsidy, but works directly with the families to organize them and ADESS is the one that manages all the operational part that links the relationship with the bank and the stores

In a letter addressed to the president of the Chamber of Accounts, Janel Andres Ramirez, Reyes asked the entity to conduct a financial audit of the social programs since 2012. Vice President of the Republic Margarita Cedeño, managed the predecessor of the Superate program, the Progresando con Solidaridad program that handled billions in solidarity funds. Margarita Cedeño is a leading aspirant to the PLD presidential candidacy in 2024 general elections.

The request for the audit is a follow up to the request by legislators from the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) for Reyes to appear in Congress to explain the fraud of hundreds of millions suffered by the Supérate program detected in February 2022.

Reyes has also requested a forensic investigation to determine how the millionaire fraud against the program occurred.

In a letter sent to the president of the Senate and the president of the Deputies, Reyes said she is fully willing to attend any public and democratic meeting to defend her honor, that of the government and the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) and to demonstrate in a clear and irrefutable manner and with irrefutable proof the transparency with which they have acted and will continue to act.

When asked about Gloria Reyes’ request for an audit to her management of the social programs, former Vice President Margarita Cedeño on Wednesday, 6 April became a trending topic with her response. Cedeño summed it up in the phrase: “eagles don’t go after flies”, indicating that she was in a league above her successor at the social program agency. Cedeño insisted that the ruling PRM has chosen her as the most likely candidate for the presidency for the PLD and the person to defeat in the dispute for the presidency in 2024.

Cedeño lead the social programs during the Presidency of Leonel Fernandez (2004-2008 and 2008-2012) when she was First Lady. And then she was Vice President of the Republic during the Danilo Medina presidencies (2012-2016 and 2016-2020). At the Vice Presidency she continued to head an office in charge of major social assistance programs.

Cedeño said that President Luis Abinader seeks to place a smoke curtain to note clarify the fraud for RD$700 million at the social program under Gloria Reyes. “President Abinader wants to make a circus with Margarita…. He has elected me as the candidate for the PLD,” she said.

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El Dia

7 April 2022