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Probe opened into tear gas´purchases

The government spent $24 million to buy tear gas in 2013.

Temas:

The second anti-corruption prosecutor has opened an investigation to determine if there were cost overruns in contracts signed by the last government for the purchase of $24 million in tear gas and other crowd control devices in 2013.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint by Minister of Security Rodolfo Aguilera, who said the actual cost should have been $2.7 million.

A source from the Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed that Prosecutor Vielka Broce has requested a copy of the contracts and ordered an audit of the purchase.

The purchases were made through the issuing of two contracts. The first was for $15 million that was signed by former Minister of the Presidency Roberto Henriquez to provide the Institutional Protection Service 60,000 tear gas grenades and launchers, 324,000 canisters of pepper spray, 900 gas masks and 5,000 smoke grenades.

Another purchase, for $9 million, was endorsed by former Minister of Security José Raúl Mulino. It included 31,000 tear gas grenades, 276,000 pepper spray canisters and other items aimed at controlling crowds.

The equipment was purchased from companies linked with the businessman Félix Falabella.

Aguilera also reported cost overruns in contracts for the refurbishing of four helicopters of the National Air Service, which will also be subject to an investigation.

Mulino refuted that there was any excess or irregularities in purchases of equipment. Meanwhile, Henríquez has been silent about the allegations.

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