The civic society movement, Participación Ciudadana (PC), gave a press conference on Tuesday, 18 December 2018, to complain about the lack of advances in the Dominican Republic in matters of fighting administrative corruption and impunity in 2018. “The latter was demonstrated by the refusal of the Chamber of Deputies to investigate advertising and political advice contracts for more than 1,300 million pesos, granted by the government to the companies of Joao Santana and Monica Moura [in the Odebrecht bribes scandal].”
Participación Ciudadana says that the “presidential re-election ghost” has distracted the people from the pressing issue of corruption and impunity.
Participación Ciudadana is the local chapter of Transparency International.
Presenting balance for the year, PC said that on the contrary, the perception of growing corruption is rising and there has been no significant ruling from the courts to change the perception of inaction and indifference within the government. Furthermore, the organization says that the Dominican Republic continues to be the only country where no one has been jailed for accepting Odebrecht bribes, despite the fact that the Dominican Republic had more bribes paid to officials than any other country caught up in the Odebrecht scandals.
The Attorney General has a case against seven Dominicans for receiving US$92 million in bribes between 2001 and 2014. None of the accused is in jail.
Participación Ciudadana mentioned the controversial overhaul the Public Ministry of the national prosecutor system. Several prosecutors who were in key positions were replaced. PC concludes that several rules for replacing the prosecutors were ignored.
The entity said there has been a strong growth of local distrust in government institutions, politicians and democracy, underscored by several national and international surveys such as the Latinobarómetro that revealed the credibility of politicians was an appalling 14% among voting aged Dominicans; the public’s confidence in the political parties fell to 23% and support for democracy fell to 44%.
PC criticized that the National Congress remains subordinate to the Executive Branch, approving loans and budget without major analysis. According to PC the legislature has surrendered its role as an oversight body of the government.
The entity argued that 2018 did not register any significant improvements in the government’s commitment to fight corruption and impunity.
Meanwhile, Colombia recently announced it outlawed Odebrecht from doing business in Colombia for ten years. It is widely observed that degree of corruption exercised by Odebrecht officials in Colombia was less than what Odebrecht admitted to having committed in the Dominican Republic.
PC also criticized citizen insecurity as one of the central issues of concern for Dominican citizens.
The PC said on the bright side, congress passed the Political Parties Bill.
20 December 2018