Caracas, July 15th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Four cases of corruption, reported throughout the country in recent days, have caused frustration about the misuse of state money and resources.
On Friday in Caracas, the Attorney General arrested 13 members of the group “Angels of the Revolution,” which illegally charged citizens interested in receiving benefits from the government’s missions. Conceived by the late President Hugo Chávez with the goal of redistributing the country’s oil wealth, the missions are entirely free.
Operating from Caracas’ Central Park area, the fund allegedly offered to facilitate access to 11 different missions, including pensions for the elderly or an apartment in a newly-constructed housing complex from the Misión Vivienda, or Mission Housing, for a rate of 1,000 to 20,000 bolivars (roughly $150 to $3200 USD at the official exchange rate).
“I call on authorities to give the maximum punishment for these bandits who mock our people,” President Nicolas Maduro said.
To the east of the capital, in Monagas state, authorities detained the manager of the legal division of Pdvsa, the state-run oil company, for charging a contractor 600,000 bolivars in order to fix a legal setback. The act, reported by representatives of the contractor, occurred one week ago, on July 8.
The litigation superintendent of the state’s legal division was also detained on charges of extortion and conspiracy.
To the South of Monagas, in the mineral-rich state of Bolívar, former Ferrominera Orinoco (FDO) President Radwan Sabbagh was arrested on several corruption charges, including embezzlement, evasion of tendering procedures, the consultation of public officials with contractors, and conspiracy. FDO is a state-owned company that extracts and processes iron ore.
In a press conference on Saturday, the secretary general of the FDO worker’s union, Ruben Gonzalez, who has himself stood trial for corruption six times, claimed that the arrest was only one piece of more illegal activity at the factory that is led by mafias.
Meanwhile, during a broadcast from the Street Government in the western state of Apure, Maduro condemned mafias throughout the western llanos region that he alleged were charging farmers for access to agricultural loans.
He called upon his Ministers for Agriculture and Land and Internal Relations to investigate the “completely illegal” actions.
“This is treason to the people … to the revolution,” he said. “I want to receive the reports of this occurring in various states, that various bandits are saying they represent the government. I want to capture them all. If you give me the information, I’ll go and find them today. Let’s raid and capture these bandits, wherever they are.”