Are Graft Scandals Threatening the DR’s Government?

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Dominican Senator Félix Bautista is among those who have been investigated by authorities. // File Photo: Government of the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic officials on Aug. 11 arrested former Defense Minister Pedro Rafael Peña Antonio and several others for allegedly taking $3.5 million in bribes in exchange for a defense contract. The arrests come as Félix Bautista, a senator from President Danilo Medina’s Democratic Liberation Party, is under investigation by Haitian officials for overvalued contracts and illegal campaign contributions. Is corruption getting worse in the Dominican Republic, or do these recent cases suggest prosecutors are making good headway in combating corruption? How do the scandals affect the Dominican Republic’s prospects for economic growth and foreign investment? Do corruption scandals threaten Medina’s government and the popularity of his powerful PLD party?

José Tomás Pérez, ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United States: “The corruption phenomenon harms public and private institutions worldwide, to a greater or lesser degree. In the specific case of the Dominican Republic, we have made significant progress in the fight against the corruption cases that have arisen, bringing those responsible before the nation’s courts. We have also strengthened transparency in the various public institutions through the creation of oversight committees made up of notable civil society figures. Also, we implemented a new and transparent system for the process of government procurement and have reinforced the Law on Free Access to Information. In that sense, we are also continuing the sustainable process of strengthening institutions, many of which represent…”

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