GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s attorney general requested on Friday the lifting of President Jimmy Morales’ immunity from prosecution so he can be charged in connection with illegal financing of his 2015 campaign.
The accusations were announced at a joint press conference where Attorney General Thelma Aldana was joined by Ivan Velasquez, the head of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
Morales, in his capacity as legal representative of his party, “impeded the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the citizenry from learning the identity of the financers who contributed to his campaign,” Velasquez said.
The evidence indicates that the president’s FCN-Nacion party broke the law by accepting anonymous contributions and then failing to report them, the CICIG chief said.
The man who succeeded Morales as party chair after he became president, Edgar Ovalle, is currently on the run from prosecution for his alleged role in human rights abuses during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war.
The FCN-Nacion failed to meet its legal obligation to provide ledgers, bank statements and other documentation showing the sources of funding and the exact amount of contributions, prosecutors say.
Aldana pointed out Friday that when electoral officials sought to audit FCN-Nacion, the party effectively refused to cooperate.
The party’s controller, Ana Gloria Josefina Perez, told the AG Office that FCN-Nacion officials did not supply her with the information she needed to file the required reports.
CICIG was created in 2007 to help Guatemala’s criminal justice system fight organized crime, corruption and impunity more effectively.
Rumors have been swirling that Morales – now in New York – has asked the United Nations to remove Velasquez, a Colombian attorney who took over as CICIG’s head in 2013.
Aldana has threatened to resign if Velasquez is ousted.
Morales, who took office in January 2016, agreed to extend CICIG’s mission until 2019.
CICIG has investigated corruption cases involving about 300 people, including former officials, businessmen, politicians, members of Congress and mayors, among others.