The San Juan Daily Star
Special independent prosecutor to look into possible misuse of funds by ex-Education chief
By The Star Staff
The Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel (OPFEI by its Spanish initials) has agreed to investigate former Education Secretary Eligio Hernández Pérez for allegedly misusing public funds, the agency announced Monday.
The OPFEI’s decision followed a complaint from a letter sent by the Financial Oversight and Management Board to Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández.
Besides Hernández Pérez, who was Education secretary from June 2019 to December 2020, the OPFEI agreed to investigate three other former Education Department officials: Osvaldo Guzmán López, a former assistant secretary of administration; Carlos M. Malavé Irizarry, a former assistant secretary of the Office of Auxiliary Services; and Evelyn Rodríguez Carde, a former finance director.
The OPFEI will determine if crimes were committed when the then-officials authorized payments for leased premises whose contracts were not current. After receiving the letter from the oversight board, Emanuelli recommended the appointment of a special independent prosecutor after investigating the allegations.
The Special Independent Prosecutor Panel appointed Manuel E. Núñez Corrada as the special independent prosecutor and Emilio E. Arill García as a delegated prosecutor.
From the Preliminary Investigation Report by the Division of Public Integrity and Comptroller Affairs (DIPAC by its Spanish acronym), the oversight board’s legal adviser, Jaime A. El Koury, sent the findings to the Justice chief to evaluate various Education contracts.
The board claimed that Education illegally disbursed a considerable amount of public funds, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, for rental payments on properties whose contracts were not current.
Once the DIPAC finished its investigation, it concluded that the evidence collected tended to demonstrate that the Education officials could have violated Articles 262 and 264 of the Penal Code.
The OPFEI evaluated the DIPAC report with the compiled evidence and granted the prosecutors a term of 90 days to delve deeper into the inquiry.