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Records show company ordered equipment before it received contracts

Airco received the 24 backhoes in a single order from Italy in November 2014. According to officials, they would have had to have been ordered at least two months in advance to arrive by that date.

Spanish version

Temas:

Customs records have shown that the company Airco ordered 24 backhoes months before it received contracts from the National Assistance Program (PAN) to sell them to the Ministry of Housing.

The revelation contradicts statements from the company and the government about the way the purchases were made, which was done in a manner to avoid legislative oversight.

Airco received the 24 backhoes in a single order from Italy in November 2014. According to officials, they would have had to have been ordered at least two months in advance to arrive by that date.

Over the next few months, Airco would sell more than 20 of the backhoes to the Ministry of Housing for the “Roofs of Hope” program through funds from the PAN.

However, the purchases were divided into smaller contracts that never exceeded $300,000. By remaining under that amount, the agency did not have to seek approval from the PAN Board of Directors.

Officials from the ministry and the PAN have said that the contracts were not intentionally divided, and said that the equipment was purchases as it was needed.

PAN Director Rafael Stanziola has denied any wrongdoing, saying the agency purchased the equipment from Airco based on requests from the ministry.

Neither official was able to explain how Airco was able to order almost the exact number of backhoes that would eventually be purchased by the PAN months before the contracts were issued.

Airco’s owners have several connections to the current government. Its chairman is Pedro Vallarino Trombetta, who served as director of the government bank Caja de Ahorros when the contracts were received. His business partner is Ricardo Mouynes, who is the son-in-law of Minister of the Presidency  Álvaro Alemán.

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