“There continue to be irregularities. Mr. Carlos Mesa is lying, he wants to distract attention from a serious matter."
The corruption allegations against the leader of Bolivia’s right-wing opposition are gaining momentum. His original explanation for a unusual deposit failed to stand up to scrutiny, says the head of Bolivia’s anti-corruption probe.
Carlos Mesa, consistently polling not far behind President Evo Morales, has been accused of receiving illicit payments. An inquiry into parliamentary corruption found that in 2009 Mesa had received a payment of US$30,000 from the former anti-narcotics police chief, Gonzalo Medina. Medina was recently removed from his role and is currently in prison for his links to known drug trafficker Pedro Montenegro.
Mesa admitted to receiving the payment, but claimed that it was for the sale of an apartment. Susana Rivero, deputy for the Movement Towards Socialism, and head of the anti-corruption probe, says that evidence she has unearthed contradicts his story.
According to her, Mesa sold an apartment, but in 2010, and for US$19,000, whereas the deposit he received was for $30,000 a year earlier.
“There continue to be irregularities. Mr. Carlos Mesa is lying, he wants to distract attention from a serious matter. The country needs to know why he received $30,000 from Mr. Medina, because the sale he made to his father was a year later and for $19,000. At the moment there are two different stories.”
Carlos Mesa is currently polling second for Bolivia’s presidential elections this October. He is also a former president and vice-president during the neoliberal period when his administration privatized the country’s natural gas resources, which were later re-nationalized under leftist President Evo Morales in 2006.