Casa Presidencial puts positive spin on search by prosecutors

Casa Presidencial is putting a positive spin on a raid there conducted by judicial investigators and prosecutors Wednesday.

The target of the raid was Carlos Ricardo Benavides, the minister of the Presidencia, basically the president’s chief of staff.

Wednesday night Casa Presidencial issued a statement that quoted Benavides as saying that “The fiscal general contacted me to look over some documents and I agreed immediately.” Agents took away his office computer.

The investigation is about influence peddling.

According to Casa Presidencial, Benavides is helping prosecutors with an investigation of a sitting member of the Asamblea Legislativa. This is another one of those disclosures by the Spanish Language La Nación that resulted in quick action by prosecutors.

The lawmaker, Wálter Céspedes of the opposition Partido Unidad Socialcristiano, appears to have sought government jobs for family members by contacting Benavides via email.

What makes matters worse is that Céspedes has been an interrogator of Benavides at legislative committee sessions on the subject of the suspicious contracts issued to build a roadway along the Río San Juan, the country’s northern border.

The Casa Presidencial statement said that prosecutors only wanted to look at Benevides’ computer, but he told them to take it away. He said they did not have a judicial order to remove it. And anyway it was his secretary’s computer and not his, the statement said.

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