Many say corruption is no surprise as corrupt people see any crisis as opportunity to exploit the millions or billions in recovery aid money floating around in Puerto Rico, to stuff their own pockets.
The concession of a contract last week to a construction company to purchase Covid-19 test kits has placed Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced in a frail position, after she had consolidated in the post, which she took over in August 2019, after the popular overthrow of Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares.
The benefited company, Apex General Contractors, which has no experience in the medical field, received 19 million dollars, 50% of a 38-million-dollar deal, to acquire test kits to detect the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which has so far killed 51 people in Puerto Rico.
That sum, paid in advanced by the Puerto Rican Government, could be recovered because the Oriental Bank froze the transfer to an institution in Colorado, the United States, and warned about the irregularity to federal authorities, thus freezing Apex’s account.
Governor Vazquez Garced strongly defended the transaction, which involved local officials, in addition to recommending the spokesman for the medical task force, Segundo Rodriguez Qulinchini, thus ignoring acting Health Minister Concepción Quiñones de Longo.
The official, who resigned in silence and told reporters to ask ‘the lady governor’ about the reason for her resignation, said later that they wanted to force her from La Fortaleza, the venue of the government, to sign in 21 minutes a contract of which she had no knowledge.
Later, the Puerto Rican governor tried to discredit Dr. Quiñones de Longo, who has worked for the Ministry of Health for more than 40 years and is the mother of Justice Minister Dennise Longo Quiñones, who has remained silent, while Prosecutor Phoebe Isales leads the investigation into the contract.