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  • Interior Ministers Arturo Murillo (L) and Defense Minister Fernando Lopez (R), La Paz, Bolivia.

    Interior Ministers Arturo Murillo (L) and Defense Minister Fernando Lopez (R), La Paz, Bolivia. | Photo: Twitter/ @LatinPressNews

Published 17 November 2020
Opinion

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo and Defense Minister Fernando Lopez are charged with the crime of influence peddling.

The Bolivian Prosecutor's Office Monday issued arrest warrants against Interior Minister Arturo Murillo and Defense Minister Fernando Lopez for the "Tear Gas" case, related to the purchase of chemical agents at a surcharge.

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"There is sufficient evidence that the former coup ministers are the perpetrators or accomplices of the crime," the Attorney General's Office stated.

Murillo and Lopez will be arrested because "there are signs that the accused may hide, escape, or leave the country and hinder the investigation of the truth of the facts," the arrest warrant explained.

Both ministers, who left their offices in the first days of November, are accused of misuse of influence.

On November 6, the anti-corruption prosecutor Luis Atanacio issued a migratory alert to prevent Murillo and Lopez from leaving the country.

As part of the investigative process of the 'Tear Gas' case, Bolivia's Attorney General Juan Lanchipa asked the Brazilian Attorney General's Office to take statements from the owners of the Condor company, which sold the non-lethal weaponry to the Bolivian Police.

The complaint to the Attorney General's Office states that the government paid about US$39 for each unit of long-range projectiles and US$36 for each unit of triple-action projectiles. In each case, the sale of 50,000 units was requested. 

According to a Gigavision network's complaint, the cost increased because the government of Añez opted for an intermediary, even though a direct purchase was initially being made.

The 'Tear Gas' case investigation generated a conflict between Murillo and the ex-procurator Jose Maria Cabrera, who requested information about the acquisition. Cabrera was removed from office.

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