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August 21, 2014
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Bonfatti vetoes most of Judicial Police bill

Opposition accuses Sante Fe governor of watering down measure to create new force

Santa Fe Governor Antonio Bonfatti yesterday vetoed 40 of the 57 articles of a law that would have created the Judicial Police in that province in order to investigate complex crimes and supervise the activity of public officials, according to legislative sources.

“What he did was to seal a deal with the police bureaucracy, an anti-reform conspiracy,” Victory Front (FpV) provincial lawmaker Eduardo Toniolli said.

Bonfatti’s veto does not block the creation of the judicial police, but does give more discretional power to the provincial forces to decide in which cases these new officers can be called up.

The governor’s veto “distorts the spirit of the law” approved in November that forces a new body called the Judicial Police to team up with prosecutors in charge of complex criminal cases and events involving public officials, the Kirchnerite representative said.

According to the FpV lawmaker, the law (that was approved unanimously by the Santa Fe provincial Legislature) established that the Judicial Police — a group of officers independent from the provincial police force) should help prosecutors in certain key cases.

“The law was about to take over complex crimes from the Santa Fe provincial police, but now it has been worn down in order to be nicer (to currently existing security forces),” Toniolli added. “Now it’s just a decoration, to be used at discretion.”

The Kirchnerite representative recalled that this special body was created to conduct investigations related to money-laundering and other activities carried out by organized crime groups.

From PRO, too

Federal Bloc lawmaker Alejandra Vucasovich, currently allied to the PRO party led by Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri, also criticized the move.

“Bonfatti’s stance is contradictory,” Vucasovich said. “He first publicly asks opposition political forces for support in the necessary fight against crime, but every time the Legislature passes a law that tries to provide an answer (to this issue), the Progressive Front administration does nothing more than veto (those attempts).”

One of the aspects that have been modified by the provincial leader is article 46. According to the newest changes, the Executive Branch reserves to itself the possibility of not delivering information considered “secret” by other government resolutions.

In article 55, the Santa Fe province administration establishes that not all complex crimes would be exclusively led by the newly-created Judicial Police.

“Santa Fe province, in general, and Rosario City, in particular, are living through difficult times related to drug-trafficking. That is why we are worried about the governor’s attitude, because he has systematically rejectedall attempts to solve (this problem),” the Federal Bloc representative said.

Last month, Bonfatti had to deal with a wave of police strikes demanding wage hikes that began in neighbouring Córdoba but also affected Santa Fe.

Herald staff with Télam

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