Monday, November 18, 2019

Puerto Rico gov’t: Former Treasury secretary’s complaints were referred to Justice

By on June 26, 2019

Former Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Teresa Fuentes (CB file)

Comptroller says chief financial officer position creates problems

SAN JUAN — Anthony Maceira, the secretary of Public Affairs of the Puerto Rico governor’s office, La Fortaleza, stated Wednesday that the denouncements that former Treasury Secretary Teresita Fuentes made when she left her position, were referred to the relevant authorities.

“The information was taken to the Department of Justice and, according to reports in the media, the Justice Department initiated an investigation and also referred it to the federal authorities. According to what the then-secretary expressed in her letter of resignation, she was not fired, she had some differences in public policy and she resigned voluntarily,” Maceira said in a Radio Isla interview.

On Tuesday, amid allegations of mismanagement and corruption, Fuentes stressed that upon leaving office, she informed Gov. Ricardo Rosselló about the irregularities in the department that led to her resignation. She also said she made Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez and Comptroller Yesmín Valdivieso aware of her allegations.

Valdivieso agreed with Fuentes regarding her statements about inconsistencies with the position of chief financial officer of the government (CFO), which was occupied by her predecessor, Raul Maldonado Gautier.

“I think that a lot of what happened with the Department of the Treasury, Raúl [Maldonado Gautier], Teresita [Fuentes], has to do with the fact that the CFO position was created, and who was always appointed was the secretary of the Treasury, and suddenly, when Raúl leaves the Department of the Treasury to be chief of staff and remained in the position of CFO, that office is not created under the government organizational chart and did not have its own budget,” Valdivieso said in an interview with Radio Isla as well.

“The moment Raúl left the Treasury to go to Fortaleza, he had to use the resources of the Department of the Treasury in the areas of accounting, investments and so on. When someone is given a responsibility, they have the responsibility to manage their office. I can work if I have another person using my resources at the same time. It becomes extremely uncomfortable…. Yes [she said agreeing with Fuentes] because the staff of the Department of the Treasury was doing functions for both the Treasury secretary and the CFO,” she added.

This week, Maldonado Gautier was dismissed from his positions as Treasury secretary, Office of Management and Budget director and CFO for denouncing an alleged “institutional mafia” in Treasury without first informing the governor. On Tuesday, his son, Raúl Maldonado Nieves, insisted that his father’s accusation that the governor was corrupt and ordered that an audit by BDO on the handling of shipping containers with aid for Hurricane María victims be changed.

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