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News > Honduras

Honduran Ex-Officials, Entrepreneurs Arrested for Corruption

  • Former officials and entrepreneurs are detained in Honduras, Aug. 26, 2021.

    Former officials and entrepreneurs are detained in Honduras, Aug. 26, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @EDNTVHN

Published 27 August 2021
Opinion

The National Fiscal Support Unit ordered to distrain 13 homes, ten vehicles, and 20 commercial companies, all of which they obtained unlawfully.

On Thursday, nine Honduran ex-officials and entrepreneurs were detained for their involvement in the fraudulent signing of 14 construction contracts through which they stole over US$6.6 million from the Social Security Institute (IHSS) between 2020 and 2013.

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Former Labor Vice Minister Carlos Montes and Social Security Manager Wilmer Polanco are among the detained officials, to whom the National Fiscal Support Unit (UNAF) accuses of authority abuse, fraud, and money laundering.

These officials signed contracts with six Honduran construction companies to improve the IHSS Regional North Hospital and the Calpules and Torocagua clinic facilities, located in San Pedro Sula and Comayagüela cities respectively.

The works, which were carried out at a 52 percent markup, were left unfinished and in poor condition. Besides seizing those implicated, UNAF ordered to distrain 13 homes, ten vehicles, and 20 commercial companies, all of which they obtained unlawfully.

On May 7, former IHSS Director Mario Zelaya was condemned to 31 years in prison for overvaluing the purchase of construction materials and copper supplies by 389.52 percent. This sentence adds to the 71-year ruling to which he was sentenced for stockpiling war, commercial weapons, and passive bribery in 2016

Former IHSS Manager Jose Zelaya was also involved in the purchase of construction materials. In this investigation, he was accused of fraud, violation of the duties of officials, illicit association, and money laundering. So far, he remains a fugitive from justice.

According to data from Gallup Interdisciplinary Development Consultant as of May 2021, Honduras is the Latin American country with the second highest rate of corruption. Colombia ranks first.

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