Investigative journalist Alicia Ortega once again presents irregularities in the operations of the Propeep, the newly created Abinader high level special projects department under Jose Leonel (Neney) Cabrera. Propeep is an agency that works directly with the Presidency of the Republic.
As reported in the Monday, 13 June “El Informe con Alicia Ortega,” the General Strategic and Special Projects of the Presidency Agency (Propeep) received a cheaper paint than that contracted in the bidding process for the “Pinta tu Barrio en Navidad” program. The paint used in the program is not of a popularly known brand.
The program presented evidence of irregularities in the implementation of the project that sought to paint houses in low-income barrios and cost the state more than RD$155 million. The program sought to paint the facades of 100,000 low income houses.
The program revealed that companies that appear to be ghost companies or linked to each other were those that participated in the bidding and that at least three have direct links among themselves.
“Some of these exchanged the promised merchandise for cheaper products that were not suitable for the purposes of the program,” reports the investigation.
According to El Informe, BigStar and Servicios Generales y Suministros (SGS) won their tenders offering acrylic paint for interior and exterior with a three-year warranty but delivered acrylic matte for interiors with a 12-month warranty.
This is contrary to the objective of the project that was to improve the facades of houses, parks and iconic places in the country, as established in the Propeep resolution and also in the bidding conditions that required acrylic paints for exteriors not interiors.
The program reported that the traffic paint (for road signs) supplied by BigStar and SGS has only a 24-month guarantee with the container closed, when the bidding conditions required a minimum warranty of three years.
Ortega said that both companies communicated to Propeep they were sending a different type of paint then contracted. In the case of BigStar, the company indicated: “It has the same characteristics, requirements and quality as the one offered in the process”. SGS went a step further, saying “it has the same characteristics, requirements and quality as the one offered,” the investigative program denounced.
Alicia Ortega says that her investigations revealed that the paint was not delivered as contracted to the Propeep warehouses. Instead, the cheaper line of the brand was received. The other companies that apparently did not deliver what was promised were Sognatore and Benedetto, which won the bidding with an offer of a premium acrylic paint of one brand, but delivered another.
Likewise, the company Corporación para El Desarrollo de la Seguridad y Defensa delivered to the institution buckets of paint that on their label say for “interior use,” when the program Pinta tu Barrio en Navidad is all about painting exterior surfaces.
El Informe con Alicia Ortega says that they were unable to locate the addresses of two of the companies that received hefty contracts, Vais de Suplidores and Transwest Corporation. “The representative of the first one, in principle, promised via telephone to El Informe to provide all the required information, but then we never heard from him again and he did not receive any more calls,” stated the journalist on the investigative news show. She said Transwest Corporation did not supply the brand they offered in the bidding.
Alicia Ortega estimates that the beneficiaries have been about a quarter of the 100,000 mentioned in the project description.
Alicia Ortega had already reported on irregularities in the solid waste project handled by Propeep.
As was common procedure during the Medina administration, in regards to these cases there has been no response or actions from the Abinader administration.
El Informe con Alicia Ortega
14 June 2022