TODAY NICARAGUA – President Daniel Ortega and his immediate family — his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, several of his children, daughters-in-law, former daughters-in-law, and other relatives — receive more than two million córdobas per month, equivalent to US$67,500 in wages and salaries based on the official records of the Nicaraguan Institute of Social Security (INSS) up to 2018 and the analysis of deeds from the Mercantile Registry of Managua.
According to an investigation by Confidencial.com.ni, the information, which only shows data on six of the nine children of the presidential couple, records the salaries reported to Social Security and includes public entities as their source in at least eight cases, not including the president and vice president.
The rest of the registered salaries are derived from private companies belonging to the business network of the Ortega-Murillo family.
The data reveals that Rafael Ortega Murillo and his ex-wife Yadira Leets Marín received US$13,000 dollars from Inversiones Zanzibar and the Nicaraguan Oil Distributor (DNP), respectively. This amount is greater than what the presidential couple received from the treasury, which was US$8,300 dollars in the same period.
The average salary of the presidential couple exceeds the salaries approved by the president to regulate the public function since February 2007. According to the Official Newspaper La Gaceta number 34 of February 16, Ortega set a monthly salary for the president of US$3,200 dollars and US$3,100 for the position of vice president, something that was not fulfilled as reflected until 2018 when Ortega earned US$4,200 dollars and Murillo US$4,000 monthly.
Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo receives US$5,884 from TN8 and US$2,912 from Difuso, for a total of US$8,796 monthly. His wife Xiomara Blandino Artola, Miss Nicaragua 2007, gets US$4,900 from Channel TN8. The couple earns US$13,700 a month.
Juan Carlos and Difuso were sanctioned by the United States in July 2020, along with José Jorge Mojica Mejía, another trusted operator of the presidential family that appears on the intricate map of companies under family control.
Confidencial tried to get the version of the Presidency and Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, but did not get a response.
The ex-wife of Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, Idania Castillo Arcia, also receives salaries from Difuso and from the state-owned Cinemateca Nacional, of which she is the director, to the tune of US$3,678 per month.
Meanwhile, Camila, Luciana, Maurice and Daniel Edmundo Ortega Murillo, who run the television business, in particular, Viva Nicaragua Canal 13 —the first three— and Canal 4 —the last, their salaries reported to the INSS come from RGB Media, a private company publicly associated with Maurice.
Karen Santamaría, wife of Laureano; Mara Stotti, wife of Daniel Edmundo; Blanca Díaz, wife of Maurice and daughter of the sanctioned director of the National Police, Francisco Díaz; and Katherine Argeñal, wife of Carlos Enrique “Tino”, are four of the daughters-in-law of Ortega and Murillo who also work in different State institutions, although according to the Law of Integrity of Public Servants, Law 438, they are disqualified from exercising those functions.
This law establishes that in all the powers and institutions of the State and its dependencies it is not possible to appoint people who are related within the fourth degree of consanguinity and second degree of affinity with the authority that makes the appointment and with the person from whom this authority emanates.
In this case, Ortega and Murillo’s daughters-in-law are of the first degree of affinity. To this is added that the presidential couple holds a power that goes beyond their respective offices and encompasses decision-making within the entire state apparatus.
A specialist in probity issues, who asked for anonymity, explains that the Civil Service and Administrative Career Law, Law 476, is also violated, which states that officials must be chosen by meritocracy.
In this case, we see a “network of nepotism”, according to the specialist, since brothers of Ortega and Murillo’s daughters-in-law also appear as public servants in the Executive Power, and that it obeys, not only to a logic of hiring the family, or of giving a relative a job, but to protect the interests of the presidential couple.
Laws 438 and 476 are also violated when the children of Ortega and Murillo exercise public functions as presidential advisers and ministers since the blood relationship is in the first degree and it has been questioned that there are no considerations of abilities or merits either.
Article has been translated and adapted from the original article in Spanish at Confidencial.com.ni.