Congressional Committee to Recommend Criminal Charges Against Garcia – Report

A congressional committee has recommended filing criminal charges against former President Alan Garcia for the pardoning of prisoners convicted of drug trafficking during his presidency.

A report from the committee, known as the Megacommission, was leaked to local press. The committee said in the report that Garcia was allegedly responsible for constitutional infractions and criminal responsibility for “the massive authorization of presidential pardons,” according to daily Peru.21.

The committee has been investigating allegations of corruption in Garcia’s 2006-2011 administration (his first presidential term was 1985-1990).

During this past term, Garcia pardoned or reduced sentences of more than 5,000 individuals who were imprisoned in Peru’s notoriously overcrowded jails. However, more than 400 of those released had been convicted of drug trafficking, and other traffickers’ sentences were reduced. An investigation by the Megacommission found that in some cases, entire gangs were released from prison.

Adding to the scandal were reports that the prisoners paid the presidential pardons commission for their release or reduced sentences, according to several testimonies.

Ensuing investigation resulted in the arrest of the official who led the presidential pardons commission during Garcia’s administration, Facundo Chinguel. At the same time, former Minister of Justice Aurelio Pastor faces possible criminal charges for his involvement in the pardons list.

The committee said the pardons were committed by a criminal network, and not one individual.

The committee, which is led by a lawmaker from President Ollanta Humala’s party, said there are also “reasonable indications” that Garcia committed a crime when he pardoned the former head of the public health insurance provider SIS, which is part of the Health Ministry and provides insurance for lower-income residents.

SIS’s former chief, Julio Espinoza, was imprisoned over charges that he stole 9 million soles ($3.2 million) that would have been used for victims of a 2007 earthquake. Garcia pardoned Espinoza, who is a member of the former president’s Apra party, for health reasons. Espinoza allegedly had cancer; however, local media reported later that his health greatly improved after he was released from prison.

The committee’s report needs to be approved by Congress and is scheduled for debate in March this year. If it is approved, it will be sent to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation.

Garcia has denied any wrongdoing, and has accused President Humala of orchestrating the investigation in order to hurt his chances at running for a third presidency in 2016. On Wednesday, Garcia confirmed that he was interested in running for office again in 2016. President Humala is constitutionally barred from seeking a second consecutive term in office.

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3 Comments

  1. Wowwww who would ever think Garcia was corrupt. They need to make an example of these political people to start making an effort to control the corruption. The money they steal could provide lights and water to many places that does not have it now and help the poor to make progress to get ahead.

  2. Flor de Maria says:

    We all knew from the beginning Garcia was corrupt. How did we forget his first term? How do we have such short memories? Did we think he had been reborn or something like that? It pains me to see my country electing corrupt, after corrupt politician. Are things ever going to change? I believe that if we gave them life long sentences, with no possibility of parole, things might get better–just maybe.

  3. Garcia is a very corrupt and dangerous person. He represents the corrupt political class that exploits the resources of Peru. There is a world wide problem of corrupt political classes, but Peruvian politicians do it without shame, in the open for all to see if they wish to look. If it was possible to have a fair and open trial for Garcia, i am certain he would receive a very long prison sentence, so he would no longer be able to exploit the Peruvian people again. The judicial system should also go after all the monies or properties, gained by any criminal activity.

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