Former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Challenges Minister

The former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Minou Tavárez Mirabal, has challenged the current Minister to provide proof of her mismanagement of funds for a series of international meetings and that her records were too "chaotic" to perform an audit. In a six-page letter addressed to Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugo Tolentino Dipp, which was made public on 29 December, Tavárez Mirabel said that Tolentino Dipp should stop making allegations in the press and give the country the evidence, if he has any, that funds for regional meetings of heads of state were mismanaged. Tavárez Mirabel, who served under President Leonel Fernández, is the latest ex-official whose administrative and fiscal competence has been questioned by successors. "I challenge you," she wrote to Tolentino Dipp, "to review my bank accounts and real property, as well as those of my family, to see whether you can find what you have been constantly insinuating in a smug manner in public and private." Tolentino Dipp had previously announced that he had hired the KPGM firm to audit the accounts for two international conclaves held in Santo Domingo in 1998 and 1999 at a collective cost of DR$94 million. Later Tolentino Dipp announced that KPGM was unable to conduct the audit due to inadequate documentation. In reply, Tavárez Mirabel wrote "the KPMG report that I have seen says nothing like what you attribute to it," and that in fact all the documentation is in the Ministry’s archives. She added, "in the event that the documentation has mysteriously disappeared, I will be pleased to make the photocopies available to you, whereby the promised audit will not need to be further delayed."