Daniel Ortega’s police have a new protocol for harassing journalists. For years they have done so when the reporters are in the street covering news events. Now they are present during their questioning at the Public Ministry about the alleged money laundering at the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (FVBCh). When the prosecutors are finished the Police are in charge of ensuring that the witnesses sign the minutes.
The journalist and director of the Literal platform, Jose Adan Silva, recounted that in his interview at the Prosecutor’s Office on May 27, an Ortega police officer participated in the interview they conducted, a situation that has not occurred with the other journalists who have gone to the Prosecutor’s Office in recent days.
“Today’s process was unusual in two ways: now there were policemen taking minutes. And no one else has had a police officer until now; and secondly, they had not detained anyone else when they left the Prosecutor’s Office, and now they have,” Silva told Confidencial.
Silva’s questioning lasted almost two hours at the Public Ministry.
After his interview as a witness in the investigation, Silva was detained two blocks from the Public Ministry by police officers and paramilitaries who asked for his identification, took photographs of the documents and told him to “leave the area.” The same officers and paramilitaries followed the journalist for several kilometers through the city of Managua in vehicles without license plates and with tinted windows.
“The origin of the funds is known”
Journalist Argentina Olivas, director of Matagalpa’s Radio Vos, was questioned for two and a half hours. Afterwards, she assured that in the Public Ministry prosecutors asked her how she used the funds she had received from the Violeta Barrios Foundation.
“I said what I had to say, I don’t lie. We have always worked transparently. We have always provided information about what we do (…). We are not making up anything. We are not committing any illegal act. (The Violeta Barrios Foundation) is being accused of something that does not make any sense. The accusations made have no basis because the origin of the funds is known. They know to whom they were assigned. Therefore, I do not know what the reason is to be calling all the journalists,” Olivas said.
Anibal Toruno, manager and owner of Radio Dario, who was summoned to appear on May 27, did not arrive at the appointment of the Public Ministry, since he is outside the country. Until the deadline of this edition, it is unknown if he sent a representative. Confidencial tried to communicate with him, but he did not answer his cell phone.
Prosecutor receives information from banks
In a statement published in the afternoon of this May 27, the Public Ministry stated that they received from the banking institutions of the country the required information on the people who are investigated in this case: Cristiana Chamorro, Marco Antonio Fletes and Walter Gomez, former executive director, accountant, and administrator of the FVBCh, respectively.
“We have received from the financial system (banks), the required information (freezing bank accounts and lifting of bank secrecy) on the investigated people, everything in accordance with the laws of the Republic,” says the statement from the Public Ministry.
In addition, they highlight that Fletes was summoned for the second time to appear this Thursday, however, he did not show up for the interview; and in the case of Gomez, he did arrive on Wednesday, but declined to answer the questions asked.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times