• The Star Staff

Justice refers Ceiba mayor to Special Independent Prosecutor Panel

By The Star Staff

The island Justice Department referred Ceiba Mayor Angelo Cruz Ramos to the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (PFEI by its Spanish initials) on Thursday so that entity can investigate a complaint filed by the northeastern town’s municipal assembly that alleges possible illegal acts related to a domino tournament.

The information about the referral was made public by the working group of the candidate for mayor of Ceiba for the New Progressive Party, Samuel Rivera, who defeated Cruz Ramos in the recent primary.

The complaint alleges certain irregularities in the granting of municipal funds for a domino tournament, according to a written statement from the Justice Department.

According to an official letter signed by Interim Justice Secretary Inés del C. Carrau Martínez, the Justice Department’s Division of Public Integrity and Comptroller’s Affairs evaluated all the evidence collected in the course of a preliminary investigation and in accordance with the provisions of the Article 4 (1) of Law No. 2 of Feb. 23, 1988, known as the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel Law, the case was referred to the PFEI.

The document from the Justice Department says that on Dec. 11, 2019, the Ceiba Municipal Assembly informed the department of certain irregularities committed by municipal officials, which included the mayor and the director of finance, Jorge Marcano Dipiní. The alleged irregularities refer to the granting of $3,000 to the Puerto Rico Domino Federation for a tournament that was to be held in Ceiba.

Several municipal legislators argued that the donation was made without due process. As specified, for the month of November 2019, the municipal assembly did not approve an ordinance to grant the donation due to questions and lack of evidence to justify it. However, they were later informed that the donation was made through other means, which raised their suspicions regarding a violation of due process.

The public information that emerged indicates that the mayor gave orders to the Finance Department to inflate an already approved contract for the town’s Christmas tree lighting event, and then divert the money to the domino tournament.

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