Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Guatemalan president stripped of immunity over corruption scandal

Guatemalan President, Otto Perez
Otto Perez, the embattled president of Guatemala, has been stripped of immunity from prosecution and banned from leaving the country ahead of possible criminal charges over a multi-million dollar corruption scandal.
Guatemala's Congress voted unanimously to remove his immunity on Tuesday, and within hours a judge ruled that Mr Perez was barred from leaving Guatemala.
Mr Perez, 64, a conservative retired general, was elected in 2012 after promising to crack down on crime and corruption.
He is now accused of masterminding a scheme in which companies bribed officials to reduce their customs duties.
It was called "La Linea" (the line) and named after a hotline the businesses would call to reach corrupt officials.
Six of Mr Perez's 14 ministers have resigned in recent days. But he has denied the allegations and rejected calls for his resignation.
Speaking before his immunity was revoked, he said: "I have not received a cent from this fraudulent system."
Thelma Aldana, Guatemala's attorney general, said: "In the eyes of the justice system he is now a common citizen given he no longer has immunity, and so there will be a criminal prosecution against the president.
"Guatemala is showing that no one is above the law."
No charges have yet been filed but possible charges include tax fraud. 
He is due to remain in office until a handover in January.
A presidential spokesman said: "The president is aware of the new scenario, which was not the most desirable but was very probable.
"He has said he will be very respectful and submit himself to the rule of law."
His vice president Roxana Baldetti was arrested on August 21 and has been charged with bribery and fraud.

This I believe is worthy of emulation in our dear country Nigeria.

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