More than 7,000 government employees charged with corruption in Peru

Legal proceedings against more than 7,000 allegedly corrupt government employees — including army generals, police chiefs, mayors and regents — are currently underway in Peru, daily la República reported Friday.

Since January 2009, more than 1,900 complaints have been registered for acts of corruption — up from 1,274 cases in 2008. Approximately 72 percent of these accusations have been directed against personnel from Peru’s Education Ministry, reported La República.

“The Education Ministry has millions of beneficiaries, and thousands of employees,” said education consultant León Trahtemberg. “Complaints for bribes or inadequate procedures are always going to be reported.”

Peru’s last great corruption scandal came to light last October, when Sunday night investigative TV news program Cuarto Poder broadcast audio recordings purportedly of Perupetro Vice President Alberto Quimper and Romulo León Alegría, a prominent member of Garcia’s ruling Aprista party, discussing under-the-table payments conditioned on Norwegian Discover Petroleum obtaining oil exploration concessions.

According to the recordings, Quimper, Leon and Ernesto Arias-Schreiber, the legal representative of Discover in Peru, were to receive $10,000 monthly in exchange for steering lucrative oil contracts to explore the offshore oil blocks and gas field.

The scandal led the government to suspend five joint exploration and development contracts recently awarded to state-owned oil company Petroperu and Discover Petroleum of Norway.

Shortly after, Peru President Alan García swore in a new Cabinet, replacing seven of 17 ministers, and appointing a popular leftist regional leader, Yehude Simon, as premier to shore up his administration, deeply rocked by the oil concession kickback scandal.

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