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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor submits an anti-corruption measure

By The Star Staff

Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi filed before the Legislative Assembly Administration Bill 82, to include more government officials in the legal framework of investigations that can be conducted by the Department of Justice and subsequently refer them to the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Panel (OPFEI, for its Spanish acronym).

Administration Bill 82 amends the OPFEI Act to expand the legal framework for investigations to municipal legislators, the Ombudsman, the president of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), and rectors, as well as any other official who, by the nature of their functions, may be equated to an agency head or deputy’s head.

Likewise, it includes any person who has held any of the previously described positions, who is charged with the commission of any felony and misdemeanor included in the same transaction or event, or crime against civil rights, the public function, or the treasury, subject to the appointment of the Special Independent Prosecutor being made within four years from the date on which the individual ceased to hold office. However, this time limit in no way alters the statute of limitations for criminal action against the official or individual.

“We have zero tolerance against corruption, and we are working together with the state and federal government to ensure that there is no impunity against those who commit illegal acts,” said Pierluisi.

In the piece of legislation, it is explained that the preliminary investigations conducted by the Department of Justice are in cases in which a sworn complaint, a report, or information under oath in the course of the initial evaluation that, in the opinion of the secretary, constitute sufficient cause to investigate whether felonies and misdemeanors included in the same transaction or event or any crime against civil rights, public information or the treasury has been committed.

Suppose the Department of Justice determines that a preliminary investigation should be conducted. In that case, it must be completed within a period not to exceed 120 days, which may be extended for an additional 90 days. During this period, the Department may not grant immunity to the officials or persons contemplated in the proposed law and who are the subject of the investigation, except in cases where the perpetrator or co-perpetrator becomes a witness for the people.

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