August 21, 2014
Cross-fire at drug agency
When Juan Carlos Molina took control of the national government’s drug agency Sedonar last month, he allegedly uncovered a series of irregularities in its book-keeping and signs of “critical” economic mismanagement.
In an interview with state-run news agency Télam, Molina also claimed his discoveries at Sedronar were met with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s instructions for him to seek the intervention of the national watchdog Sigen.
There were “directors who were designated to posts irregularly — with a simple resolution from the deputy secretary — who were paid up to 27,000 pesos (per month), and who granted irregular contracts for 800,000 pesos, including certain receipts that stood out, like 90 thousand pesos for lunches in the Microcentro,” he described.
Molina listed off other purchases such as 4 million pesos for cameras, and a pyrolytic oven used to burn drugs but “nobody knows where it is,” he said.
Although he did not names, Molina’s words were a thinly veiled criticism of Rafael Bielsa, a former Foreign Relations minister under Néstor Kirchner’s presidency who went on to become a Lower House of Congress lawmaker from 2005 to 2007.
The administrative situation facing the drug entity was “critical,” Molina explained, adding that when the President “learned of the irregularities she ordered me to seek the intervention of Sigen.”
Sedronar’s National Register of Precursor Chemicals (Renpre) was “virtually paralyzed” by 1,500 proceedings that were “held back” Molina explained, adding that the unit responsible for authorizing companies and organizations to use dangerous chemicals in their products had not achieved any of its goals for monitoring or auditing.
“Since 2011 they’ve stopped sending requests to federal judges and prosecutors to update the secretariat on legal cases for violations of the narcotics law,” he charged.
What’s more, since 2010 the organism had not updated the list of narcotics that is used to monitor for new substances designed for the production of illicit drugs.
Molina went on to describe Sedronar as a “political Secretariat, not a technical one, because it creates rights, and rights are political, not technical,” before taking aim at “the technical teams that are now praised, but which had the Secretariat paralyzed.”
Molina, who is also a priest, added that “prevention is not about technical teams, but human teams.”
Since taking office, Molina said he had travelled through four provinces as well as the Greater Buenos Aires area, to get day centres and rehabilitation and training facilities for youth back on track.
Herald with Télam