A Chamber of Accounts audit of Jose Enrique Sued’s municipal administrations in Santiago has unearthed what are being described as “irregularities” in the use of some RD$3 billion pesos. According to El Caribe, these irregularities range from double payments to the purchase of assets without following the proper procedures: a public tender.
El Caribe has a copy of the provisional report, which shows that during the Sued administrations there were items for publicity for city council members and more than RD$60 million in projects were given to contractors who were relatives of the municipal authorities without any tender. The audit shows that some RD$2.4 billion was spent on the acquisition of goods and services alone and Sued spent RD$142 million on projects that went to contractors close to the municipal administration.
Although the audit was completed in early August, it was a tightly guarded secret. In the report, the auditors describe the questionable use of RD$2,834,000 in payments to employees with more than one payroll account number and the use of RD$2 million for employees who are not listed on the payrolls. In non-listed payouts alone, the audit found RD$292 million and another RD$25 million plus in payment for projects over and above the approved budgets. The former and current mayors of Santiago have been exchanging accusations for several months now, and both men have filed defamation suits.
According to the audit report, unsubstantiated payments were made for work done in Rafey as well as irregularities in payroll checks. One of the city council members, Domingo Urena, who heads the Finance Commission, says that the current mayor, Gilberto Serulle, is following the same path taken by Sued, having left a RD$300 million debt in the first year of his administration. Sued said that he would answer these questions through his lawyer. On 5 November Sued and Serulle will be in court where defamation cases are pending.