Alex Papadovassilakis writes in InSight Crime on the continuing hollowing out of independent prosecutors who have been tackling the rampant corruption and impunity that is gripping Guatemala.
With cries of corruption mounting against Guatemala’s president, the country’s Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, has taken minimal action and instead ramped up her crackdown on prosecutors investigating high-level graft.
Prosecutor Carlos Antonio Videz Navas, who was previously involved in a corruption probe implicating President Alejandro Giammattei, has fled Guatemala fearing for his safety and possible legal attacks. Videz Navas announced his resignation and departure in a February 20 statement while accusing Attorney General Porras of obstructing the work of independent prosecutors like himself.
“It’s clear [Porras] has stepped up her plan to guarantee impunity for the criminal networks she should be investigating,” Videz Navas said in his parting statement.
His departure comes a week after explosive allegations linked President Giammattei to a million-dollar bribe scandal, which was first reported by the El Faro media group.
According to El Faro’s investigation, a former presidential confidant turned witness told prosecutors that Giammattei negotiated about $2.6 million in bribes from construction firms to fund his 2019 election campaign. In return, Giammattei agreed to keep prominent minister José Luis Benito Ruiz in his post while he continued to operate a lucrative corruption scheme linked to infrastructure projects, according to the witness.
You can read the full article, with links, here, Crackdown on Guatemala Prosecutors Intensifies Amid Presidential Corruption Claims.