The Public Ministry of Peru requested this Wednesday () to the Justice of the country to investigate the president Pedro Castillo as a “leader of a criminal organization” entrenched in the Executive to obtain “illegal benefits” from contracts signed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The representative of the prosecutor, Samuel Rojas, explained to the Peru’s Supreme Court of Preparatory Investigation on the reasons why the attorney general, Pablo Sánchez, opened a preliminary investigation against Castillo, in response to the request for protection of rights presented by the president’s lawyer, Benji Espinoza, for this case to be annulled.
“This is the first time that a president in office has been accused of leading a criminal organization entrenched in the state”, commented Rojas during his presentation.
The prosecutor asked the court to assess the need to reconcile the articles of the Political Constitution that indicate, on the one hand, that the President of the Republic can only be investigated for treason or preventing elections, while in office, while the Magna Carta asks the State to combat acts of corruption.
The representative of the prosecutor added that the investigation against Castillo “does not start from a complaint by a civil organization, nor from a member of Congress”, but from information obtained in tax investigations, as a result of irregularities denounced by the Ministry of Transport and Communications regarding the award of a series of of infrastructure works.
“This circumstance makes it necessary for the Public Ministry to adopt the measure of varying the criteria, given the seriousness of the accusations and the indications that make this accusation non-political”, highlighted Rojas.
The president’s defense filed a rights protection action so that the Public Prosecutor’s Office can question Castillo on the accusations that allegedly place him in charge of organizing the aid ication of works to businessmen who collaborated with his electoral campaign and for appointing officials related to this task.
The investigations of the Public Ministry showed “the existence of a criminal organization administered by the State using these contracts to obtain illegal benefits”, explained Rojas.
“He is the first representative of the State, summoned to protect the national interest, who is being accused of perpetrating crimes of corruption of officials”, he added. .
In these processes, former minister Juan Silva, former -secretary of the presidency, Bruno Pacheco, and a nephew of Castillo.
In addition, the Public Ministry received the testimonies of businessmen Zamir Villaverde and Karelim López, who admitted to having represented companies that won the bids and who presented audios in coordination with the accused.
Prosecutor Rojas also inf stated that there are audios that reveal that Villaverde gave 30 a thousand soles (about R$ 207 thousand) to Silva to pass on to Castillo and, likewise, that there are indications that López gave the head of state a total of 155 thousand soles (about R$ 207 thousand) in the Government Palace and in a house he used during the electoral campaign.
For his part Once, Castillo’s former secretary, Bruno Pacheco, was indicted for equity imbalance just four months after taking up that position and after the prosecution found US$ a thousand hidden in the bathroom of his office.
Castillo’s lawyer, Benji Espinoza, declared that the Public Ministry is not competent to investigate the president, as he can only be accused during his mandate for treason to the country, to prevent elections, to dissolve the Congress or to impede the functioning of Organs electoral bodies.
Espinoza added that Castillo received “treatment discriminatory” because no former president was investigated during his term and cited the cases of Alejandro Toledo (2001-1990), Alan García (1990-1990, 2006-2011) and Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), accused of money laundering as a result of the bribery scandal of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
“We hope thatdeclare my claim well founded, if the Constitution defends all Peruvians equally”, said the defense lawyer.
In parallel with the court hearing, the Congressional Oversight Commission approved the summons of the Peruvian president as investigated, and no longer as a witness, in the investigation being carried out into the meetings held by the president in a house in the Breña district of Lima, where he allegedly met with the officials and businessmen currently accused.