Cuba sends former top officials to jail for corruption

August 22nd, 2012 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, Aug 22 (IANS/EFE) Three former deputy industry ministers were among 13 people sentenced to prison for “offenses associated with corruption”, Cuban daily Granma said Tuesday.

The defendants were convicted by a court in the eastern city of Holguin for misconduct surrounding the expansion of a nickel- and cobalt-processing complex.

The crimes were committed at every stage of the project at the Pedro Soto Alba facility in Holguin province, Granma said.

Alfredo Rafael Zayas Lopez, Ricardo Gonzalez Sanchez and Antonio Orizon de los Reyes Bermudez - all of whom occupied the post of deputy minister of Basic Industries at various times between 1980 and 2010 - were sentenced to 12, 10 and eight years, respectively.

A former executive of state-owned Cubaniquel, Cristobal de la Caridad Saavedra Montero, received a six-year sentence.

Prison terms ranging from four to eight years were handed down to nine other erstwhile officials, Granma said.

Cuba has seen a number of high-profile corruption trials in the past few years amid a push by President Raul Castro to make state-owned enterprises both more efficient and more transparent.

Among those convicted in 2011 were a former food industry minister and executives of state civil aviation and biotech companies.


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