Ex-SEC chairwoman under PFEI investigation
By John McPhaul
Former State Elections Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Liza García Vélez will be investigated by a special independent prosecutor, after the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (PFEI by its Spanish initials) accepted a recommendation to that effect by the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.
The resolution issued by former judges Nydia Cotto Vives, Rubén Vélez Torres and Ygrí Rivera Sánchez establishes for the record that the report sent by the Justice Department contains evidence to demonstrate that the allegations against the former official could be the subject of criminal charges.
The preliminary investigation report submitted by the Justice Department is signed by Assistant Prosecutor Wanda Meléndez Santos and Phoebe Isales, director of the department’s Public Integrity Division.
Zulma Fúster Troche was appointed as special independent prosecutor in the case, and Manuel Núñez Corrada was appointed as delegated prosecutor.
The PFEI establishes in its resolution that the genesis of the matter revolves around the hiring of a private company to carry out tasks that were supposedly established as part of the functions of SEC employees. It is also argues that payments were made for other services provided that allegedly did not have a “public purpose,” a requirement indispensable for the granting of funds.
To this is added another series of situations regarding the retroactive payment for services rendered, without the mediation of the legally established procedure that would make it possible for such payments to be made correctly, according to the PFEI’s resolution. This, in turn, led to other administrative actions, resulting in a deviation from established procedure, with its possible criminal consequences.