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The first lady allegedly received US$13,000 from a lawmaker and failed to report it to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Guatemala’s first lady is being investigated for corruption allegations after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) found she failed to report a set of checks received in 2015, Attorney General Maria Consuelo Porra said during a press conference Friday.
During the 2015 electoral campaign, Gilmar Othmar Sanchez Herrera, a parliamentarian and one of the National Convergence Front (FCN-Naction) party’s primary financieres, wrote five checks to incumbent President Jimmy Morales and his wife, Patricia Marroquin de Morales, to the amount of US$32,050, El Periodico reports.
Two were addressed to Morales, while the other two- a sum of roughly US$13,000- were signed over to the first lady by Sanchez’s company, the Fulanos and Menganos Corporation, the local newspaper reported, initiating an official inquiry by the state.
The funds were received between 2014 and 2015 and were never recorded by the TSE. Investigators suspect the checks could have been used to finance the president’s 2015 campaign.
State Secretary Jose Alfredo Brito told the Associated Press that the administration is dedicated to the pursuit of justice and “will be following the investigation closely.”
President Morales is currently battling allegations of fraud and corruption initiated by the U.N. associate, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), for allegedly failing to report some US$2 million to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Since entering office Morales has been trying to do away with CICIG. He stepped up his efforts last August vowing not to renew the CICIG mandate set to expire in September 2019 as CICIG tried for a third time to strip the president of his political immunity, protected by the pro-government Guatemalan Congress.
The president claimed the commission had somehow “violated” national and international law.
Since then, Morales blocked the reentry of CICIG director Ivan Velazquez, into Guatemala and revoked the visas of all commission members. After repeated calls from the Constitutional Court to lift the ban, Morales finally submitted to demands allowing the commission return to their work on Feb. 13.
The committee was created in 2006 based on an agreement between the United Nations and the Guatemalan state to function as an oversight committee to prevent corruption and bring corruption cases to justice.