A few months ago, Insight Crime published an interview with Juan Francisco Sandoval, the head of FECI ( Fiscalía Especializada Contra la Impunidad – Special Prosecutor Against Impunity). The interview focuses on the continued machinations of those in power to weaken the rule of law in Guatemala, including powerful elements within the Guatemala Congress and within CACIF (Comité Coordinador de Asociaciones Agrícolas, Comerciales, Industriales y Financieras – Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations), the umbrella orgainstion for big business in Guatemala.
An interesting point made has renewed relevance in relation to the massive cash discovery in Antigua last week. In response to a question about the the case known as the Cooptation of the State, the head of FECI stated that:
“This case showed us corruption scandals within eight government offices, including the Agriculture Ministry, the Sports Ministry, the Health Ministry and the port administration, for example. But we saw that the Communications Ministry, which had the largest budget, was not involved. That ministry had its own source of illicit income. They created a whole machinery to launder illicit income, such as from bribes, into legal cash flow. The highest proportion of these bribes was paid to the president and vice president, Otto [Pérez Molina] and Roxana [Baldetti]. Another percentage went to their team, loyal public officials they had placed in key positions.“
What we have now found out is that the Minister of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing, under Jimmy Morales, is wanted in relation to that cash find. The interview helps to draw out how that cash may have been accumulated.
The interview also highlights some of the challenges currently facing those involved in anti-corruption in Guatemala.
You can read the interview with Juan Francisco Sandoval, including useful links, carried out by Héctor Silva Ávalos and Ángela Olaya, on the Insight Crime website, here.