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ARGENTINA | 06-03-2020 14:01

Ex-VP Michetti faces questions over renovation works at Senate

Former vice-president Gabriela Michetti among three individuals accused of defrauding public administration in a criminal complaint related to unfinished renovation works.

Former vice-president Gabriela Michetti is among three individuals who have been accused of defrauding public administration in a criminal complaint related to unfinished construction works at the Senate.

Michetti, 54, a PRO party official who served as VP from 2015 to 201 under former president Mauricio Macri, was named in the complaint alongside former administrative secretary to the Senate, Helio Rebot, and German De Vincenzo, the president of construction firm DINALE SA. 

"Michetti gave more than 180 million [pesos] to a company that did not finish the works that were scheduled in a questioned tender," reads the complaint, which was filed with the authorities by the government’s Director of Legal Affairs of the Senate, Graciana Peñafort.

The document, which the Noticias Argentinas news agency had access to, accuses Michetti,among other irregularities, of defrauding the public administration over “works” at the Senate that remained unfinished and of carrying out negotiations incompatible with public office. It alleges that advances on payment were granted "outside the regulations, without any motivation."

The company that received the funds did not finish the scheduled works, it adds, saying the advanced funds were not discounted from the total amount.
In writing, Peñafort denounces an “irregular concentration in the hands of a company that was not registered in the registry of providers to the Honourable Senate of the Nation.”

Dinale was awarded a contract for the “re-adaptation and enhancement of terraces, patios, buildings and circulation in the Alfredo Palacios annexed building of the HSN [Senate],” as well as the installation of a new elevator and additional improvements to fire escape routes and stairs, local daily La Nación reported.

The complaint also suggests there was possible overcharging, saying the government could not find “reliable justification” for the funds used. Declaring that much of the work was “unfinished,” it also said officials had not been able to “certify said advances,” adding that for some of the work, only “5 to 20 percent” of tasks had been completed.

According to Peñafort, the firm was awarded three renovation projects in total and irregularities have been detected in the bidding, awarding and execution of the works.

The allegation is a consequence of an audit of expenses incurred by Michetti during her time as vice-president of the nation. Her successor in the post, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had ordered a review of expenses, saying she had discovered unpaid bills and unfinished works at the Senate.

The complaint has been assigned to the court of Federal Judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi, local outlets reported. Paloma Ochoa was assigned as prosecutor.


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