Puerto Rico Senate leader targets board of troubled university

San Juan, Apr 29 (EFE).- The leader of the Puerto Rican Senate announced Monday that measures will be taken against the board of the University of Puerto Rico over its failure to oust school chancellor Miguel Muñoz despite recent scandals involving money.

"If they (the UPR regents) had the boldness not to listen to the university officials, well, we're going forward. There are going to be consequences if they did not respond to the country's interests," Eduardo Bhatia, of the governing PPD party, said in a statement.

He also noted that the UPR Student Councils had officially asked for Muñoz to be dismissed.

Bhatia's remarks come after last Friday federal agents raided the UPR's main San Juan campus to gather evidence about an alleged diversion of funds.

Muñoz only said that federal authorities asked for information for an investigation in progress, in which the daily El Nuevo Dia said authorities are gathering information about the alleged unauthorized use of funds of the National Science Foundation, which provides UPR with roughly $10 million a year.

The newspaper said that lawmakers are preparing a bill to create a new board at UPR to replace the current board of regents with a mandate to fire Muñoz, who was appointed by the former PNP administration.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has already publicly called for Muñoz's removal on several occasions.

The issue of the supposed lack of control over the federal funds coming to UPR comes on the heels of another scandal when a person posing as a top government official attempted to defraud the institution of $150,000.

Muñoz in early April admitted that he was the person who first spoke on the telephone to the swindler, but he then directed the man to his finance director, who subsequently issued three checks for a total of $150,000, although ultimately payment on them was stopped after irregularities were discovered.