Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Corruption in Cuba - Telephone executives arrested

ETECSA executives arrested, one defected in Panama. 

A new large-scale corruption scandal involving yet another Cuban government ministry, Informatics and Telecommunications, is unfolding in Havana, reported Reuters.

While no statement has been forthcoming from offical Cuban sources, several executives of ETECSA, Cuba’s monopoly telecommunications company, including its President Maimir Mesa, are under arrest, states Havana based journalist Marc Frank on Tuesday.

Reuters further reported:

“Five or six department directors and deputy directors, and maybe a vice president, have been arrested so far and the vice president of logistics, who was in Panama when the investigation began, decided not to return.”

“But the investigation has just begun and many more people might be involved,” the noted the news agency, adding that a retired company vice president was brought to Havana for questioning.

The sources told Reuters that two separate investigations underway, one at ETECSA, involving its booming cellular phone business, and the other into a submarine fiber optic cable financed largely by Venezuela that links Cuba to that country.

The cable reached Cuba in February but has yet to become operative with the online date pushed back from July to September or October. It is unknown whether the corruption case has anything to do with the failure to meet its widely-touted startup date.

The government of Raul Castro has already prosecuted and sentenced dozens of officials and executives for charges and the president says he will continue to come down hard on abuses found.

Soon after succeeding his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, Castro created the Office of the Comptroller General and put the comptroller on the ruling Council of State.

Hundreds of senior Cuban Communist Party officials, state managers and employees have lost their jobs and often their freedom in the shake-up that has followed.

It has included the breaking up of high-level organized graft in the civil aviation, cigar and nickel industries, and at least two ministries and one provincial government.

Sources: Reuters and Havana Times

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