Former government officers deemed fugitives

Former Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, former Administrative Secretary of the Presidency Simon Lizardo and former controller of the nation Haivanjoe Ng Cortiñas, were declared fugitives from justice yesterday after they did not heed an arrest order. Their whereabouts remain unknown. The Department of Investigations (DNI), the Police, the District Attorney’s Office and state security bodies are all searching for them, said Attorney General Virgilio Bello Rosa yesterday. Appeals Court investigations determined that there is evidence to incriminate them in the case of the RD$1.4 billion Program for Eventual Minimum Employment (PEME). The program served as a welfare institution and was created to make pay offs to individuals who could become trouble makers in the barrios. The Appeals Court investigation reportedly showed evidence that large sums of the fund were diverted to other purposes. The men would be tried for fraud to the state. Lawyers for the missing men presented a legal resource whereby the arrest orders would be suspended until the Supreme Court of Justice reviews another court decision that invalidates the arrest order on the grounds that the accused have the right to defense and due legal process. The PLD has called the arrest order an abuse of power. Listin Diario reports that over 20 PLD government officers sent to jail after the change of government have been released either for lack of evidence or undue handling of the prosecution cases. The exception is Luis Ynchausti, his sister Grecia Peguero Rivera, Leon Lopez Mata and Noe Camacho Ovalle all involved in the PEME case.