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Feb 13, 2018

Ex-Guat President, Ministers Held in Corruption Scandal

Former president of Guatemala, sixty-six-year-old Alvaro Colom, was detained in Guatemala City along with several of his former cabinet ministers earlier today on charges of fraud and embezzlement dating back to his time in office between 2008 and 2012. Also among those arrested was Juan Alberto Fuentes, Colom’s former finance minister and currently chairman of Oxfam International. The investigation centers around the Transurbano project, for which hundreds of buses were bought for a major public transport program in Guatemala City, many of which never actually made it to the country. Investigators say there were twenty-five year concessions and tax exemptions improperly granted. This afternoon there was a press conference hosted by Guatemala’s Attorney General, Thelma Aldana, and the head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, Ivan Velasquez, who recently had been threatened by President Jimmy Morales with expulsion for seeking to put him on trial for alleged corruption. Here’s what they had to say, courtesy Prensa Libre newspaper.


Thelma Aldana

Thelma Aldana, Attorney General of Guatemala (Translated)

“The accusations are fraud and embezzlement. The persons detained are: Abraham Valenzuela Gonzalez; Alfredo Americo Pokus Yaquian; Ana Francisca del Rosario Ordonez; Celso David Cerezo Mulet; Edgar Alfredo Rodriguez; Jeronimo Lancerio Chingo; with Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight [and] Luis Alberto Ferrote Felice; they were all detained today. Luis Alfredo Alejos Olivero, is pending to be detained; Luis Gomez Gonzalez is pending to be detained; Mario Roberto Aldana Perez – we’re looking for him, he is out of the country; Alvaro Colom has been detained; Oscar Erasmo Velasquez Rivera has been detained. Rudy Leonel Maldonado Castillo is pending to be detained. Salvador Gandara has been detained. Gustavo Adolfo Alejos Cambaras will be cited; he is already in prison. In the next few days we will present a judicial petition for the representative from PARLACEN, Haroldo Rodas Melgar. We have carried out fourteen raids; we have requested fourteen arrest warrants; eleven detention orders were executed. One summon and one application for trial.”


Ivan Velasquez

Ivan Velasquez, Head, CICIG (Translated)

“We can conclude that the same people who were part of the Commission to strengthen the public transport system, were members of the board of directors and legal representatives of public limited companies. They were working with each other in every situation… in the public transport commission, as board members in the AEAU and as legal representative in public companies they created to have access to these financial resources. These were the same people hiding behind the veil of the law. They, along with other civil servants, created a pre-paid system that allowed them to also benefit personally from the same system. The executive authorities, in order to please the AEAU, developed a device that evaded all state control mechanisms, and in this manner defrauded the state, the union members of the AEAU, and the citizens in general. This is why we affirm the signing of the 103 Agreement as establishment of the mechanism of deceit that constitutes the crime of fraud, which is one of the accusations.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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