An Editorial from Pagina Siete:
The scandal of the barges continues
Pagina Siete reported in 2012 that the Bolivian government had paid $26 million dollars upfront for the purchase of 16 barges and two Chinese tugboats for the use in the country’s Amazonian rivers. After it was also reported that they had paid and additional three million dollars, well in advance, for their transportation to an Argentine port. In total $29 million dollars were spent by the State without having obtained the goods purchased. It’s a corruption scandal of enormous proportions that the Government has taken with confidence.
The contracts were overdrawn, ie without a guarantee of an international bill of exchange. Above all, the construction company went bankrupt and did not pay the shipyard for the high cost of storage, which in 2013 exceeded three million. The number has increased until today due to the passage of time, interest and penalties. Today there is no way to force the shipyard to deliver the goods. The Executive recently reported that a Chinese court ruled “irrevocably” that the 16 barges and two tugs were put out for auction, although there is no date for it yet.
The Shipping Company of Bolivia (Enabol), who ordered the construction of barges, is trying to find a legal way out of the mess. It has failed in the past three years, since they knew the problem (although the issue was revealed in 2012).
For example, is looking for companies to prepay transportation services that would be renting those barges and tugboats; such advance payments would pay for storage. Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra, said that Enabol is trying to create the company that would provide, in advance, transport services.
The authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against those responsible for Enabol. Three former officials, including the main accused, who was the general manager of Enabol, Admiral Freddy Alberto Ballesteros, are detained in the prison of San Pedro and two others are under house arrest. The strange thing is that it has not done any investigation on another important edge, the Central Bank of Bolivia and how that entity allowed the first international warranty letter to expire and has not been renewed on time. This lack of professionalism (or demonstration of irregularity) is what ultimately caused the barges and tugboats for not been recovered so far.
Unfortunately, this is one of many corruption scandals involving national authorities.
The Executive reported that a Chinese court ruled off the 16 barges and two tugs, although there is still no date for it.
From the many corruption and negligence cases under current administration, there is also the armored cars that the president wished to have, they were purchased without a formal bid and while they were “armored” not by the vendor, they broke down due to the heavy load and there…. nothing is known… such are the fruits of having a truly incompetent government.