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News > Guatemala

Guatemala Corruption Scandal Deepens, Embroils Ex-Congress Head

  • Guatemalans protest corruption of top government officials.

    Guatemalans protest corruption of top government officials. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 June 2015

One of President Perez Molina's lawmakers and former president of Congress is at the center of the newly revealed fraud scheme.

Guatemala's government corruption scandal continues to deepen as a new investigation reveals that a major part of the salaries of private security guards contracted by Congress were never received by the workers and instead were funneled into the pockets of one of President Perez Molina's lawmakers, Guatemala's Prensa Libre reported Friday.

The investigation conducted by the attorney general and the U.N. anti-impunity and accountability body CICIG found that funds that should have been paid to 15 Congress-hired security guards were diverted to a company managed by former Congress President and ruling party lawmaker Pedro Muadi.

“Corruption in Congress mode of operation.”

According to CICIG, each security guard received only about one quarter of their allocated salaries, delivered in cash by Muadi's secretary Claudia Bolanos Morales. The remaining three quarters of each guards' monthly pay was diverted by cheque into Muadi's company's account over the course of six months in 2013, when he was the president of Congress.

RELATED: Vast Majority of Guatemalans Agree President Should Resign Now

CICIG estimates that over US$80,000 was embezzled through the scheme. The attorney general and CICIG have submitted a request for an impeachment progress against Muadi, who is at the center of the scandal.

Authorities detained Muadi's secretary Bolanos Morales and head of security Jose Blanco Aguilar on charges of corruption and embezzlement for their links to scandal, according to CICIG.

“Patriot Party (Perez Molina’s party) Congressmen booed by demonstraters on 8th Avenue in front of Congress.”

Demonstrations protesting government corruption inconvenienced Congress as lawmakers entered session in the immediate aftermath of the release of fraud allegations against Muadi.

The newly revealed congressional fraud scheme comes as charges of widespread corruption continue to encircle President Perez Molina and his government and just days after investigations uncovered US$6.7 million in corruption and embezzlement in the country's national police force.

RELATED: New Fraud Arrests as Guatemala Perez Molina Closer to Losing Presidential Immunity

As political crisis deepens, popular movements continue to demand and end to government corruption and resignation of President Perez Molina in advance of the country's general elections scheduled for this September.  

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