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General resigns amid accusations

world Updated: Jan 19, 2011 11:42 IST

General Cristian Le Dantec submitted his resignation as Chilean army chief of staff after facing questions linked with his purchase of a luxury home and alleged irregularities in the bidding procedure for military equipment contracts.

"Given the situation, considering that it is not logical for there to arise, especially due to the press, a controversy among different military authorities, I have placed my resignation at the disposal of the minister of defence," Le Dantec told reporters.

He said that he was perfectly ready to go before Congress to explain the situations that could have created doubts about his activities.

The general presented his resignation to the new Defence Minister, Andres Allamand, on the latter's first day in the post.

Le Dantec stepped down due to the controversy over his plan to spend more than $1 million on an official residence, which sparked objections from the Chilean Controller General's Office.

But Web daily El Mostrador reported Monday that government auditors are also investigating Le Dantec for possible irregularities in bidding for supplies for Chilean troops serving with UN peacekeeping missions.

Allamand told reporters that he accepted Le Dantec's resignation and confirmed that the way in which the property's acquisition procedure was handled was "inappropriate", but above all so was "the existence of a public controversy among officers of the armed forces".

He emphasised that in the defence ministry "there exist no precedents that would allow one to imagine any dishonest conduct on the part of Gen. Le Dantec".

The luxury residence ultimately was not acquired after the objection of the Controller General's Office.