Prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, main player in the fight against corruption in Guatemala, left the country in the early hours of Saturday (24) for fear of reprisals, after accusing the attorney general of obstructing investigations involving government officials and President Alejandro Giammattei.
Consuelo Porras, Attorney General of Guatemala, sacked Sandoval, head of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity (FECI) this Friday afternoon (23), in a decision that drew criticism from the US State Department, which considered him as an “anti-corruption hero”, as well as issues of social, business and humanitarian organizations.
Under Sandoval’s command, FECI has in recent years been responsible for prosecuting politicians, officials and businessmen allegedly involved in bribery schemes, including accusations of fraud which led to the president’s resignation. Otto Pérez and the arrest of Vice-President Roxana Baldetti.
Shortly after being sacked, the former prosecutor called a press conference, in which he said the prosecutor general had obstructed his investigative work and undermined the autonomy of the unit. investigation and the prosecution, by not allowing the force-task to advance in investigations involving President Giammattei.
For the specialists consulted by the newspaper La Hora, the statements of Sandoval are a serious blow to the credibility of the public prosecutor and to the work of Porras, who so far has not publicly denied the accusations of the former prosecutor on his administration.
Sandoval’s fate is unknown. According to Guatemalan human rights officials, to leave the country, the former prosecutor crossed the border into El Salvador.
In the United States, State Department Undersecretary Julie Chung said the sacking of Sandoval “is a step backwards for the rule of law in Guatemala” and “contributes to the perception that there is a systematic effort to undermine those who fight corruption “in the country.
Chung also said, in a post on his social media, that Porras’ decision was “outrageous.” “The Guatemalan people deserve more,” he added.