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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Audit group sues Public Buildings Authority to obtain debt documents

Economist José Alameda, president of Citizen Commission for the Audit of Public Credit

By The Star Staff

The Citizen Commission for the Audit of Public Credit has sued the Public Buildings Authority (PBA) to provide information on the public corporation’s bond issues, financial statements and board of directors meeting minutes, among other public documents.

The lawsuit, filed in the Court of San Juan by the Inter-American Law School’s Access to Information Project on behalf of the Citizen Commission, came as a result of the PBA declining to release the documents after the group requested the information on Oct. 11, 2022.

“For more than a year and five months, the Commission has been searching for key documents related to debt issues and public instrumentality finances. Specific documents include the books or files of bond issues from 1972 to 2007, minutes of the Board of Directors, resolutions, swap and credit line files, and financial statements from 1972 to 1996, among others,” said José Alameda, an economist and president of the organization. “The PBA, to date, has not delivered this information nor has it invoked any exception to retain it, causing the legal action of the Commission under the Law of Transparency and Expedited Procedure for Access to Public Information.”

José Rivera Santana, a planner and also a member of the nonprofit organization, noted that the Citizen Commission’s request is not just about obtaining information, but also about strengthening the accountability process and promoting greater transparency in the management of the public finances of the Puerto Rico government and its public corporations. The ultimate goal, he said, is to create a free public electronic file that contains informative materials on the public debt of Puerto Rico, which will empower the public to make informed decisions about the financial state of their government.

“The right of access to information has been unequivocally recognized in Puerto Rico as a fundamental human and constitutional right,” Rivera Santana reiterated.

He further underscored the importance of access to information as a pillar of a democratic society, allowing citizens to make informed judgments about government actions. The group’s legal action is not just a request but a demand for the PBA to fulfill its legal obligation to provide public information.

The Citizen Commission said it hopes the legal action will promote a rapid and complete response by the PBA, thus ensuring compliance with current regulations on transparency and access to public information.

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