LA PAZ – A Bolivian judge ordered preventive imprisonment for Gabriela Zapata, President Evo Morales’ former girlfriend, whom the government has accused of illicit enrichment and influence peddling.
Judge Margot Perez at a Sunday court hearing ordered that Zapata – who was arrested on Friday – be held at the Obrajes women’s prison in La Paz.
The Attorney General’s Office asked that the businesswoman be jailed as a potential flight risk, an argument Perez accepted.
Meanwhile, the Bolivian government on Sunday called upon Zapata to present the son she had with Morales before a judge this week to prove that the boy is alive, as a relatives and an attorney of the businesswoman recently asserted.
“We demand that Mrs. Gabriela Zapata present that boy before the ... judge ... (on Monday) so that we Bolivians may know what the truth is,” the minister of Transparency and the Struggle Against Corruption, Lenny Valdivia, told state-run media.
The minister said that the “official information” the government has is that Morales knew of the boy’s 2007 birth but then “they told him that this (child) was sick” and that he died shortly thereafter.
The relationship between Morales and Zapata, and the contracts that the firm she worked for up until a week ago, China’s CAMC Engineering, or Camce, received from the state led journalist Carlos Valverde to charge that influence peddling had gone on, an accusation the president and his ex-girlfriend have denied.