LIMA – Former President Alan Garcia on Thursday went to the Peruvian Attorney General’s Office to testify in the case involving the Peruvian Southern Gas Pipeline and Brazil’s Odebrecht construction firm, saying that he had “not the slightest fear” of being implicated in the huge corruption scandal.
At the doors of the court, the former president, who governed from 1985-1990 and again from 2006-2011, insisted that he “does not crumple” and that he will appear before judicial officials whenever required to do so, just as he has on “39 occasions” over the past five years.
Garcia thus laid to rest the persistent rumors that he would not show up at the AG’s Office and that the hearing scheduled for him had been suspended, as reported by several Peruvian media outlets.
However, the former leader landed in Peru on Thursday morning, traveling from Spain, just as he had said he would on numerous occasions, and he was on time for the scheduled hearing before anticorruption prosecutor Reynaldo Abia, who is investigating irregularities detected in the gas pipeline project.
“I’ve acted in accord with my conscience and best interests. If there are some second-level officials who have taken advantage of public works to enrich themselves and extort companies, let them feel the full weight of the law, the maximum possible, because they betrayed the people and are sullying projects that are to the people’s benefit,” Garcia told reporters upon leaving the airport.
He also insisted that he had “not the slightest fear” that legal action will be taken against him in corruption cases involving Odebrecht, although two officials of his last government are linked to it and even former President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) has an international arrest order outstanding for allegedly receiving bribes from the firm.
“Each person knows how he acted,” Garcia said.
Anticorruption prosecutors called the president to testify about alleged irregularities in the bidding for construction of the pipeline in a case opened against former first lady Nadine Heredia, the wife of former President Ollanta Humala (2011-2016).
Garcia has been abroad in recent months, after Odebrecht’s declaration that it paid $29 million in bribes in Peru between 2005-2014, a period including the administrations of Toledo, Garcia and Humala.
Toledo, who is presumed to be in the United States, allegedly received the $20 million bribe for selecting Odebrecht to build the Interoceanica highway.