The executive vice-president of the Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus), Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, told reporters last week that the Penal Code that is currently under study in Congress needs more work. He said that just two or three years in jail would not serve as a deterrent against corruption. At the same time he was making his remarks, members of the justice department were filing corruption charges against former high-ranking members of the Army and the Police for some RD$3 billion in an anti-corruption operation called Operation Coral.
Castaños Guzman said that it is impossible to talk about government transparency when the punishment for corruption is just two or three years in jail. He noted that the legislation is currently under study again in the Chamber of Deputies Justice Committee and that he feels that corrections will be made to Article 303 of the proposed code that establish lax penalties for corruption in government. And he got his wish.
Two days later, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco (PRM-National District) said that he is now proposing amendments to the Penal Code that would expand the minimum punishment for simple corruption convictions to ten years. Accumulated crimes could increase the sentence for offenders to 60 years, he said. Of these, the law allows the person to be released from jail after serving half of the sentence.
Deputy José Horacio Rodríguez (National District – Alianza Pais) explains that the penalties for administrative corruption have not been reduced. He said the crime is not included in the present Penal Code.
3 May 2021