Otton Solís Fallas, the former Costa Rican director of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), denounced in an opinion piece what, for him, represented “offensive and ostentatious luxuries” for directors of the regional financial body.
According to Solís Fallas, CABEI managers earn a base salary of $11,449 per month.
In addition, bonuses that raise income by about 65% are exempt from all taxes. According to tax legislation in most of our countries, gross salary must exceed $25,000 per month to earn a net salary like that earned by a CABEI Director. The former director of the organization said in an article published in the newspaper “La Nacion” that managers who move their residence to Honduras receive $2,000 per month for uprooting.
CABEI CEO Dante Mossi responded in a tweet, without mentioning Otto Solis Fallas’ article, and said that since his arrival at the organization, expenditures have been reduced and (financial) assistance to the region increased.
Since my arrival at CABEI, in December 2018, we, the Board of Directors and our staff have reduced expenses and, at the same time, increased our assistance to the region. We are the most relevant financial institution in Central America certified by rating agencies,” said Mossi.
Solis Fallas added that managers can appoint an executive assistant, administrative assistant, secretary and driver.
Likewise, confirm that they travel to any partner country at CABEI expense, without seeking permission from anyone and without having to report the results, accompanied by one of their “employees”; And they have a luxury all-terrain vehicle, which can be used for personal matters. When he was the manager of Costa Rica, he noted that he found he had three cars at his disposal: two Prados and a Volvo.
“No one controls whether they take vacations, with an incentive not to report them: at the end of management, the days due to them (two days a month) and not taken are paid by the bank. Managers can spend on food, liquor and gyms. Specials, sandwiches and drinks for the office, all with practically no limits,” Solis Fallas denounced.
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Additionally, he said that when they travel to Honduras for the monthly meetings, they stay in the suites of the most expensive hotel in Tegucigalpa, are provided with sumptuous lunches and are charged double the daily allowance for some items.
“It is normal for meetings to be held outside Honduras, which incur high additional costs. On Christmas the president of the bank, the subordinate, enjoyed expensive gifts financed by the bank and held grueling parties, whereby air and travel expenses for the whole day were paid for all the employees from outside Honduras, Solis Fallas said.
‘Unethical secrecy system’
In an article titled “Excesses of CABEI Leadership,” the economist and politician, Solís Fallas, said that when he took over as director for his country, he learned of the abuses and waste of the management body.
CABEI directors are appointed by the governments of each partner country. The position of Director of Nicaragua is currently held by Ramon Aurel Pérez Acuña, a former official in the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.
“The Board of Directors is the body responsible for managing CABEI. It exercises all powers delegated to it by the Board of Governors and those related to defining operational and management policies, approving the budget, as well as short, medium and long-term plans and active and passive operations,” the website reads from the body. .
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In addition, the Bank states that the Board of Directors holds a regular meeting at least once a month, at which “decisions affecting the social and economic development of member states are taken.”
According to Otton Solis Fallas, CABEI, through the same directors and governors, from the outset, “adopted an unethical regime of secrecy, with severe penalties for those who violate it.”
He said that the CABEI hierarchy is terrified of revealing certain rules and certain facts, because some of them will not tolerate public opinion.
Solís Fallas said that he presents the complaint in that article as “the last resort to eliminate gossip, excesses and abuses that benefit the leadership of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), an institution of fundamental importance to the development of the region. And that it has a capable and committed technical ‘cadre’.”
He emphasized that he fought this situation without much success.
For more than three years, respecting the undemocratic rules of secrecy with which the bank protects itself. Today I am announcing this situation, said Solís Falla, with the hope that the independent press of partner countries, responsible citizens and organized civil society will pressure the governments of those countries to stamp out abuses by those who lead CABEI.
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