© Reuters. File photo: Juan Francisco Sandoval arrived at a press conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala on July 23, 2021. He was removed from his post as the Office of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity by the Attorney General of Guatemala ( FECI) person in charge. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria/File
Guatemala City (Reuters)-Guatemalan authorities said on Tuesday that a controversial prosecutor in Guatemala had been appointed to replace an internationally renowned anti-corruption fighter who had only recently led the country’s anti-corruption department.
Rafael Curruchiche will take over as the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI), after the Attorney General Juan Francisco Sandoval was removed from office last month by the Attorney General, who accused him of Ruined her job.
The dismissal drew condemnation from Washington and triggered protests calling for President Alejandro Gamatai and the Attorney General to step down.
Sandoval, who fled to El Salvador after being fired, criticized the appointment of his successor, pointing out that past accusations were that he appeared to be protecting corrupt elements.
“Besides Rafael Curruchiche, who else can represent the interests of corrupt elements?” Sandoval said in a video posted on Twitter.
Sandoval stated that his dismissal was related to his efforts to investigate corruption cases related to Jamatah.
After announcing the appointment, Kuruchche told a radio program in Guatemala that he was committed to abiding by ethical standards and would prioritize the fight against corruption and impunity.
“What I will do in the Special Prosecutor’s Office to Combat Impunity will be correct. This is what I want to ask all prosecutors. They are correct, they are objective and fair,” he said in the excerpt from An interview published on the Twitter account of the Office of the Attorney General.
The Attorney General’s Office stated in a statement that Curruchiche was appointed to “ensure the continuity of its work”.
FECI was originally designed to deal with an investigation led by the United Nations-backed Guatemala International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), which was expelled from the country in 2019.
Curruchiche is a prosecutor of the election crime department, responsible for the investigation of former President Jimmy Morales, but despite the charges against him, no arrest warrant was issued against the leader.
In June, Curruchiche’s election crime prosecutor’s office accused former tax director Juan Solorzano of forging documents to form a new political party and implicated Anibal Arguello, a lawyer who had worked with CICIG. Related to this case.
Solorzano and Arguello stated that these allegations were politically motivated because Solorzano discovered a corrupt network that defrauded the country by helping business leaders avoid taxes.
Curruchiche has stated in the past that his office acted in a fair and objective manner and rejected allegations that he arrested Solozano and Aguero to protect corrupt elements.
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