Gov’t Ethics Office fines ex-AAFAF official for conflict of interest
By John McPhaul
The Puerto Rico Government Ethics Office (OEG by its Spanish initials) imposed a fine of $40,000 against Pedro Soto Vélez, former chief financial officer of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF), for submitting false information and not waiting for the term established by law to work with a private company to which he awarded a million-dollar contract while he was a public servant.
According to the report, while Soto Vélez worked at La Fortaleza, he intervened in meetings on matters related to the Conway MacKensie company, his current employer, which was awarded a contract of $9.5 million.
The contract was awarded on July 16, 2018 until June 30, 2019. However, three months later, on Sept. 16, 2019, Soto Vélez went to work for the firm established in Miami, as managing director.
The OEG said Soto Vélez lied when reporting that he stopped working in the government on July 31, 2018, when he did so on June 30, 2019.
According to the OEG complaint dated June 23, 2020, Soto Vélez violated sections 4.2 and 4.6 of the Government Ethics Law, for which he was imposed an administrative fine of $20,000 for each infraction and granted 30 days to comply with them.
Article 4.6 of the Government Ethics Law establishes that “a public servant cannot, during the year following the termination of his government employment, hold a position, have a pecuniary interest or contract directly or indirectly with an agency, private person or business, on which they have exercised an official action during the year prior to the termination of their employment.”