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News > Latin America

Honduras: Head of OAS Anti-Corruption Mission Resigns over Lack of Support from Almagro, Gov't

  • Juan Jimenez, spokesman of the OAS Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Maccih), is pictured in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

    Juan Jimenez, spokesman of the OAS Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (Maccih), is pictured in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 February 2018
Opinion

The ex-Peruvian minister said he hasn't communicated with Almagro since August, while the government refuses to implement proposed laws by the mission.

The head of the Organization of American States' anti-corruption mission in Honduras said Thursday he would resign over lack of support from authorities in the Central American country and clashes with OAS leadership.

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"With great regret and after deep reflection, I announce my resignation," Juan Jimenez, a Peruvian former minister, wrote in a post on Twitter explaining the reasons for his departure.

Jimenez, who previously served as minister of justice in Peru, attributed his resignation to differences of opinion with Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the OAS.

In a letter, posted along with his tweet announcing the resignation, Jimenez lamented "the lack of communication" from Almagro with his mission "since August 2017."

"This had its greatest expression when he did not receive me on Jan. 30, despite having traveled specifically to meet with him and inform him of the current situation of the mission," he added.

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He further explained that such meetings were vital to his mission’s work in the Central American country as he needed to update Almagro on the "the pressures and threats that it was receiving due to them, the need to have administrative autonomy and the material and human resources necessary to carry out our work,"

The Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, Maccih, was created by the OAS in 2016 at the request of the Honduran government following months of large protests demanding an investigation into corruption in Honduras by an independent group, similar to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, Cicig.

Another reason he stated for his resignation was the lack of support from the Honduran government as it has failed to implement important laws proposed by the mission to address corruption.

He further expressed concern over the government’s reaction to his mission’s investigation of more than 140 congress members and leaders of non-government organizations who illegally channeled approximately US$55 million in state funds meant for community social projects, into their own pockets.

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On Jan. 18 the right-wing National Party-majority Congress passed a budgetary law that barred the Maccih and the state prosecutor’s office from investigating embezzlement cases since the year 2006 and gave it to the Superior Accounts Tribunal, a governing body with no legal authority to indict.

Jimenez’s resignation came a day after Almagro sent a letter to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez criticizing the results of the mission and telling him that "it will be necessary to strengthen the functioning of the Maccih."

Almagro seemed to suggest that the mission has failed to yeild results for its investigations and prosecute officials involved in corruption "despite having the resources and full freedom of action from the General Secretary,” claims that Jimenez disagrees with.

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