Since last week we have been reporting about the political crisis faced by Guatemala in relation to the investigations being carried out against President Jimmy Morales who is being investigated for allegations of illegal campaign finances amounting to approximately $800,000.
Tonight we can report that yesterday the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice has evaluated the petition presented by the Public Ministry and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala which claims that President Morales’ National Convergence Front Party received and concealed such funds during his election campaign in 2015. The court has, therefore, ruled to authorize the Guatemalan Congress to review lifting Morales’ immunity so that he can be investigated.
Supreme Court spokesman, Angel Pineda, indicated that there appears to be adequate evidence to allow the transfer of the case to congress, who must now form a five member committee so as to examine its case and present its conclusion to the full body. Nonetheless, a total of 105 votes of the 158 members is required so that the immunity can be lifted.
The court also reportedly evaluated two additional requests against Morales including obstruction of justice and abuse of authority in relation to the President’s order to expel CICIG’s leader, Ivan Velasquez from his post. However, we understand that those requests were denied.
Additional reports from the Guatemalan press indicates that CICIG’s Executive body has renewed its mandate to continue carrying out its work up until the year 2019. It is of note that within months of assuming his post as President of Guatemala, Morales had requested the extension of the mandate, due to the fact that the Commission had contributed to the investigation of more than 200 cases and had processed more than 160 officials and ex-officials for various crimes.
The petition to extend the stay of the Commission in the country, though, was made by Morales when the investigation for illicit financing to his party, National Convergence Front had not yet come to light.