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Anti-Impunity Commission Launches Mass-Corruption Probe in Guatemala

By: PanAm Post Staff - May 6, 2015, 8:22 am

EspañolThe International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) reported on Monday that it is investigating 40 cases of illegal profiteering and smuggling by customs agents in the country. Thousands of indignant citizens have taken to the streets in recent days to protest against a wide-ranging corruption scheme that has reached the highest levels of power in the Central American nation.

El comisionado de la CICIG, Iván Velásquez, informó que hasta el momento investiga 40 casos de evasión vinculados a corrupción gubernamental. (CICIG)
CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez reported that 40 cases are currently being investigated as part of a government corruption scheme. (CICIG)

CICIG Commisioner Iván Velásquez explained that the investigation is being carried out by the Group of Economists and Fiscal Analysts (G40) due to the judge bringing the case only allowing two months for the presentation of proof, despite such cases normally being given three.

On April 16, the CICIG and national authorities arrested 22 people linked to the structure headed by the private secretary to the vice presidency, Juan Carlos Monzón. Also linked to the contraband scheme are officials of the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) such as Carlos Muñoz and Omar Franco.

The Public Ministry is supporting the investigation, while Monzón’s case is being taken up by Interpol after he remains outside of Guatemala, having been on a visit to South Korea when investigations began.

The corruption scandal has provoked protests nationwide, including that of citizens who have chained themselves to one of the gates of the National Palace of Culture since Friday, May 1.

Guatemalan citizens Bernardo, Angie, Yashira, and Andrea are protesting against the officials involved in the illicit activities and report having received numerous shows of support by people visiting the place.

Bernardo told local daily El Periódico that their objective is to “combat a problem without sharing ideology.”

On Tuesday, SAT management carried out an extraordinary session to analyze what measures to apply to restore taxpayers’ confidence. The G40 suggested strengthening the body’s powers and boosting collection capacity.

Source: El Periódico.