Deputies approve report on the use of Sinart to concentrate and politicize state advertising

Deputies approve report on the use of Sinart to concentrate and politicize state advertising
Deputies approve report on the use of Sinart to concentrate and politicize state advertising

With 30 in favor and 13 against, the deputies approved this Monday the report of the Commission investigating the advertising contracts of the National Radio and Television System (Sinart), which concludes that the government of Rodrigo Chaves used the Sinart advertising agency to concentrate state advertising and politicize this resource.

According to the investigation, the funds were used to award contracts to pro-government media outlets.

Voting in favor were 15 legislators from the National Liberation Party (PLN), five from the Broad Front (FA), five from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), two from the Christian Social Unity Party (PUSC), one from the Social Democratic Progress Party (PPSD) and independents Gloria Navas and María Marta Padilla.

Six PPSD members, five New Republic (PNR) members and two PUSC members voted against.

The Unidad party, the most divided in this vote, claimed that the faction left the vote to the free, even though the president of the research forum was the Christian Socialist Vanessa Castro. She and Alejandro Pacheco endorsed the report, while Leslye Bojorges and Carlos Andrés Robles rejected it. Horacio Alvarado and María Marta Carballo walked out of the plenary session. The remaining three members of the faction did not attend the session.

For the majority of the deputies in the plenary session, the government used a perverse method to force Sinart to resort to on-demand contracts, since this served to dominate the editorial line of the media and allocate resources to those who do not exercise a critical line towards the Executive Branch.

BEEN: Government used Sinart to concentrate and politicize state advertising, investigation concludes

The report of the investigation is signed by Vanessa Castro, of the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC); Ariel Robles, of the Broad Front (FA); Johana Obando, of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), as well as the liberationists Dinorah Barquero and Danny Vargas, of the National Liberation Party (PLN).

Among the conclusions of the investigation, it was determined that the Presidency of the Republic compromised Sinart and subjected it to an unprecedented crisis by using it for strictly political purposes.

The investigation also concluded that there were no technical criteria for the allocation of public resources used for state guidelines.

Unlike the five signatories, both the Fabricista Pablo Sibaja and the official Ada Acuña issued their own reports, separate from the majority report.

BEEN: JPS president awarded multimillion-dollar contracts on Rodrigo Chaves’ orders against technical criteria, report says

During the discussion of the report on Monday, PLP deputy Johana Obando questioned whether the State should do more to maintain an inefficient system. She emphasized that, among the suggestions of her faction, is the closure of the Sinart advertising agency.

“The money is not enough to maintain things that are not useful, that money can be used for scholarships, for example,” Obando emphasized.

Editorial Committee of the Presidential House

In addition to the politicization of state advertising, the report questions the Editorial Committee of the Presidency of the Republic, a body created at the suggestion of producer Christian Bulgarelli. The recommendation of the deputies to the Public Prosecutor’s Office is that said committee be investigated for the alleged crime of influence peddling, in relation to the management of a donation from the Central American Bank for Economic Research (BCIE) and for the concentration of Sinart funds.

Specifically, with money donated by the BCIE, a contract worth $405,800 was awarded to Bulgarelli’s company, Nocaut, for communication advice to the government of Rodrigo Chaves.

BEEN: Rodrigo Chaves attacks deputies investigating the Sinart case

The committee that the deputies requested to investigate was made up of the president, Rodrigo Chaves; the former Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz; the Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodríguez; the pro-government deputy Pilar Cisneros and the publicist Federico Cruz, known as Choreco.

The report also questions the participation of Cisneros and Cruz in an executive branch, since neither is a government official.

In her speech, Dinorah Barquero emphasized that Cisneros’ participation is contrary to Article 111 of the Political Constitution, which establishes that it is incompatible for a person with a seat in the House of Representatives to provide services in any other branch of the Republic, or in autonomous institutions, under penalty of losing the credential.

The report recommends that this matter be reviewed by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

Independent MP Gloria Navas Montero stressed that the investigation focused on the defense of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, as well as the protection of public resources that, the deputies fear, have been squandered.

He also questioned the fact that a member of parliament and a friend of the president were on the editorial committee, which, according to Navas, could be corruption.

The deputies stressed that Federico Cruz, despite not being a public servant, took on tasks assigned by Chaves and the editorial committee, including managing contracts and guiding decisions on public funds.

For this reason, the Commission’s recommendation on Sinart is that the Public Prosecutor’s Office investigate the interference and participation of the publicist Federico Cruz. The same request was made to the Public Ethics Ombudsman’s Office (PEP), in addition to asking it to evaluate whether there are grounds for reporting an alleged crime of influence peddling in the contracts analyzed by the investigative forum.

Among the officials that the investigative commission is asking the Attorney General to investigate are the executive president of Sinart, Fernando Sandí; the general director, Federico Amador; the former head of media plans, David Tencio, and the former executive president, Allan Trigueros.

In her comments at the plenary session on the investigation report, Liberationist Andrea Álvarez pointed out that governing is a matter for adults and that President Chaves has not had the stature to do so.

The official Paola Nájera questioned the fact that there was a rush to rule on and debate the report on the Sinart guidelines, but not on other investigations, such as the Diamante Case or the use of resources from the National Union of Local Governments (UNGL).

The also pro-government Ada Acuña questioned the majority report, as she alleged that there is no evidence for any of the conclusions presented by the Liberationists, and argued that Vanessa Castro, the president of the research forum; the liberal Johana Obando and the Liberationist Danny Vargas had conflicts of interest when participating in the investigation.

 
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