Guatemalan president may be investigated in campaign finance case
Guatemala’s Constitutional Court opened the door on Monday to an inquiry of President Jimmy Morales for illegal campaign financing, but the Central American country’s Congress will have the final say on whether his immunity is removed, Reuters reported.
Guatemala’s attorney general and a U.N-backed anti-graft body said last month that they are seeking to investigate Morales over suspected illicit campaign financing.
To strip Morales of his presidential immunity, prosecutors now need the go-ahead from a two-thirds majority in Congress. He could then be formally investigated and charged.
Under the leadership of veteran Colombian prosecutor Ivan Velasquez, Guatemala’s International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) has been a thorn in Morales’ side, investigating his son and brother, and then seeking to remove his own immunity over more than $800,000 in allegedly unexplained campaign funds. Morales has denied any wrongdoing.
Morales struck back late last month, attempting to expel Velasquez in a move that provoked international outrage. But the nation’s constitutional court ruled against the president, finding he did not have the authority to fire the CICIG head.
Morales won office in 2015 running on a platform of honest governance after his predecessor, Otto Perez Molina, was forced to resign and imprisoned in a multi-million dollar graft case stemming from a CICIG investigation.