Editor (South America)
SANTIAGO – Teodoro Ribera resigned last Monday from the position of Minister of Justice, after accusations linking him to the National Accreditation Commission corruption case.
A week ago, e-mails between Ribera and the former CNA President Jorge Díaz revealed that they kept narrow ties when Ribera was the superintendent of the Autonomous University. The Ciper Chile’s investigation declared that, in 2010, Díaz bribed several Chilean universities, “selling” accreditation to them for hundreds of millions of pesos.
On the same year, Autonomous University received a five-year accreditation, which was voted by Díaz when, at the same time, he was advisor of the Gendarmerie, which is dependent on the Ministry of Justice.
One of the e-mails revealed that Díaz waited for the accreditation application to ask Ribera to admit his nephew into the Autonomous University and to provide him a grant. Moreover, Santiago media revealed that Ribera’s family partly owned the University. An investigation solicited by the Confech found out that Ribera has stocks in the Gaudi S.A., an estate company that rents building to the Autonomous University.
Ribera announced his resignation in a conference in Palacio La Moneda while denying any wrong doing. He described the accusations against him as “biased, based on incoherent facts, unfounded, and simply false”. He said, “They seek to condemn me with reprehensible facts, rummaging through old files, refusing to tell the truth. They attempted to involve my family in a political matter with an eagerness to persecute”.
This scandal has been prompting massive street demonstrations for the last two years. Students demand the end of what is known as diploma mills which pump out thousands of students every year, many of whom receive substandard education.
As MercoPress explains, university education is a sensitive topic in Chilean public opinion because of the high fees and elitist in nature, as middle class families find it difficult to access their services. Most Chilean universities are private and, purportedly, a good business for investors.
Ribera has now been replaced by the former Undersecretary of Justice, Patricia Pérez.
Image Courtesy: Gobierno de Chile from http://www.gob.cl/blog/2012/03/26/una-nueva-justicia-civil-para-chile.htm via Wikimedia Commons