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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Justice chief recommends special independent prosecutor in case of alleged corruption in Ponce

By The Star Staff

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández recommended Monday that the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials) appoint a special independent prosecutor (FEI) to investigate Ponce Mayor Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón for allegedly soliciting money contributions from trust employees in violation of various legal provisions.

Emanuelli Hernández accepted the recommendation of the Justice Department’s Division of Public Integrity and Comptroller Affairs (DIPAC by its Spanish initials) and sent the OPFEI the case file and the report on the preliminary investigation by the DIPAC and the Bureau of Special investigations.

“At the Department of Justice, we continue to combat public corruption that affects both government operations and citizens,” the Justice secretary said in a written statement. “Anyone who steals from the people or violates their trust will be held accountable.”

According to the report on the preliminary investigation, the evidence collected showed that the Ponce mayor, through intimidation, managed to get his subordinates to provide financial contributions and make payments on a personal loan whose purpose was to partially cover the expenses of his political campaign. Likewise, the evidence established that, prior to assuming the position of mayor, Irizarry Pabón received illegal donations that he did not report in the quarterly reports he filed with the Office of the Elections Comptroller, among others.

The Justice Department’s preliminary investigation began with a communication received from the Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office, which was referred to the Justice secretary.

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