Univ. of Puerto Rico head won't resign over fraud case

San Juan, Apr 4 (EFE).- The president of the University of Puerto Rico, Miguel Muñoz, said Thursday that he will not resign over his part in nearly allowing a con artist to bilk the institution out of $150,000.

Muñoz said in remarks to WKAQ radio that issuing checks is not among the duties of the institution's president. UPR finance director Edwin Reyes, who is in charge of that, did present his resignation earlier this week as a result of the incident.

The case has been on the front pages of local newspapers and some analysts have called for Muñoz's resignation saying that given a mistake of this magnitude the fault cannot exclusively lie with the finance chief and the UPR president cannot avoid his own responsibility in the matter.

Muñoz acknowledged that it was he who talked with the con artist on the phone, but he said that he then sent him to his finance director.

Muñoz said last week that the con man pretended to be Puerto Rico's public affairs secretary, Jorge Colberg.

The swindler told Muñoz that UPR was going to receive $15 million from the government, although for that to occur the institution first had to submit three checks for $50,000 each to cover administrative expenses.

Reyes issued the checks, but UPR later stopped payment upon discovering irregularities.

Puerto Rican media have reported on a scheme in which individuals pose as members of the government to tell mayors and other public officials that they will receive millions of dollars in allocations on condition that they make payments prior to that to cover administration costs.

Police have arrested three people implicated in the criminal scheme.