SECURITY

Mulino questioned over $68.3 million payment to Selex

The contract has been criticized due to problems with the equipment provided by the company.

Temas:

The third anti-corruption prosecutor has accused former Minister of Security José Raúl Mulino of embezzlement related to a $68.3 million payment made to the Italian company Selex as part of a contract to purchase 19 radars.

Prosecutors say that Mulino authorized the payment to the company, which was more than half of the total amount of the $125 million contract, despite the fact that the radars did not meet with the required specifications. The payment was made shortly before he left office.

Testimony from officials of the national air service (Senan) indicated that the radars were not able to detect the speedboats used by drug traffickers, which was the reason they were purchased. Senan official Edberg Elieser Rodríguez Jaramillo told prosecutors that the radars were used for a year, and never detected a single speedboat used by drug traffickers.

Rodriguez stated that he was trained by Selex on the use of the radars between 2012 and 2014, but they were never able to detect smaller boats.

Fellow Senan official Carlos Terrientes Guzmán, who participated in the testing of the radars, supported those claims,.

Another Senan official, Joe Laniado Morales, said that larger patrol boats were used in initial tests, but the system was unable to detect smaller boats, as specified in the contract.

Laniado was categorical in indicating to prosecutors that between 2012 and 2013, the radars never located a single boat used by drug traffickers.

Testimony also revealed issues with the location of the radars, as many of the sites were accessible only by helicopter.

Senan officials said that the sites were pre-selected by Selex with no input from Senan.

Mulino has been in custody for this case since October.

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