The time of reckoning
5 May 2019
In the past months the Peruvian justice system has been involved in a series of investigations of corruption at all levels of government. In the last week many of those processes have come to a head and this has led to a moment of reckoning for both members of Congress and ex-Presidents. The most high-profile case is of course that of former President Alan García, who chose to end his life with a bullet when the investigation against him began to gather speed and he was on the verge of being sent to prison. This week further information has emerged on how money was channelled to him through his supporters Luis Nava and Miguel Atala. But as investigations continue the prosecution has announced that it will finally open the formal case against former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadia Heredia on Monday 6 of May. The couple spent several months on remand because of the evidence they had received 3 million dollars from Odebrecht to finance their presidential campaign in 2011, and that they created a system of fake supporters in an attempt to cover up for it.
But the events this past week have been dominated by the case of Congressman Edwin Donayre, a former general in the army who was found guilty of stealing gasoline from the army and the state in 2008, when he was in command during García’s second presidency. Donayre had been sentenced to prison in August 2017, but had remained in post due to Parliamentary immunity. Although there had been prior attempts at removing this legal protection in the ethics commission in Congress, it was only when this protection was rescinded after the Supreme Court intervened and Parliament once again voted on the issue, that Donayre’s immunity was taken away on Monday 29 April. The former General has not been yet found and there are rumours that he will give himself up, or that he will try to evade justice and flee the country. Donayre is the second sitting Parliamentarian to face prison due to corruption as Benicio Rios Ocsa is serving a seven-year sentence. Another nine legislators have been suspended and are waiting for judicial decisions.