Santo Domingo.- Customs director Juan Fernandez said the government opted not to implement the "pernicious" X-ray inspection contract in ports because the security of the country’s supply chain logistics cannot be left to private companies, and that its use isn’t a “cure-all” in the war on drug trafficking and customs crimes.
The official’s statement over the X-ray inspections in Dominican ports further stokes the scandal dogging New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez.
"We will not execute this contract. The Customs Agency isn’t going to argue about this, as you may have noticed," he said and revealed it has preferred legal channels, noting that the pact "doesn’t withstand the slightest scrutiny of decency and decorum."
Speaking in the Dominican exporters’ (Adoexpo) luncheon at the Embajador Hotel, Fernández said the government will do all it can to install X-ray machines in ports at Haina and Puerto Plata, but under official authority.
He said because it was a "pernicious" contract it drew president Danilo Medina’s attention, and rejected by his two predecessors, Rafael Camilo and the late Miguel Cocco.
On Friday Vinicio Castillo Seman, a prominent attorney and cousin of famed eye doctor Salomon Melgen, denied forming part of the deal to install the X-ray machines. “This is all a lie, Melgen simply bought the rights to the contract.”
He said the accusation stems from a “vicious” campaign which targets New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, though Melgen.