The unethical double-dipper at the Comptroller’s Office

March 22, 2006

The Venezuelan political system has, as part of its checks and balances, the figure of the Comptroller, the man in charge of controlling, supervising and watching over how the Government’s money and property are used. The General Comptroller supervises in turn all comptroller’s at the State and Municipal level and has independence to intervene and supervise any institution that is considered to be part of the Government. (Even if the Government contributes nothing to it).When he finds cases of corruption, he brings goes to the Proecutor’s office with the evidence to prosecute. He can also penalize those that violate procedures with fines and suspensions from holding public office.

There is also the “Citizen’s Power” exercized according to the Constitution via the “Republican Moral Council” of which the General Comptroller is one of its three members. Unfortunately, you need people who are not only politically independent in these positions, but they need to have high ethical and moral standards. The current General Comptroller Clodosvaldo Russian, has been a rather gray figure, almost non-existent, who has pursued very few corruption cases and in some cases has allowed the National Assembly to overtake his functions and mandate. He has been used by the Government to prosecute its enemies, the most recent case being that of succesful Chacao Mayor Leopoldo Lopez, who is being charged for “mismanagement” for using funds earmarked for one thing to pay the salary raises decreed by the Central Government. Lopez had asked the City Council to approve this, the municipal comptroller approved it and by law, he had to pay the raises. Despite this and the fact that dozens of Chavista Mayors followed the same procedure, Lopez is the only one being prosecuted for this. If succesfull, Lopez will not be able to hold political office for six years. Very convenient for the revolution, given Lopez’ win in the last election with 80% of the vote.

But it turns out that the man in charge of controlling corruption has no ethical values or principles as demonstarted by the voucher below. You see, Venezuelan law does not allow for double dipping. If you are a retired Government employee, you can not hold another Government job, unless your pension payments are temporarily suspended. Additionally, there is a decree that specifically says that you can not be a comptroller at any level, if you are a retired comptroller from any state or muncipality. But in the pretty revolution these things do not apply to the rulers. The voucher below is for the pension of Comptroller Russian, who retired as municipal comptroller of the Libertador District, corresponding to payment in January 2005 (He has held the position since 2000), clearly showing that the man in charge of upholding the law, one of the three members of the so called Moral Power is the first one to violate his own rules. Proof that he would not recognize a moral or ethical value if he ever saw one and providing further explanation as to the origin of the rampant corruption in the Chavez Government. Simple: Nobody is watching!

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