Guatemalan president faces judgment day in Congress

By Jill Replogle

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Guatemala’s Congress will debate Tuesday whether to strip embattled President Otto Pérez Molina of his immunity and force him to face prosecution over massive corruption at the national customs service.

A congressional investigative committee recommended three days ago that lawmakers vote to revoke the conservative leader’s immunity, which would trigger a criminal trial and possibly force him from office.

Congress will convene at 2:00 p.m. to consider the motion, which needs 105 votes to pass in the 158-member legislature.

If the motion passes, it will be the first time a president has been stripped of his immunity in the Central American country.

Pérez Molina survived a similar vote last month — but that was before prosecutors had accused him of masterminding the alleged systematic corruption.

Prosecutors and investigators from a special U.N. anti-graft commission say Pérez Molina ran a scheme in which businesses paid bribes to clear their imports through customs at a fraction of the actual tax rate.

Read our ongoing coverage of the corruption scandal in Guatemala

Pérez Molina, a 64-year-old retired general, has repeatedly denied the allegations and rejected calls from an increasingly virulent protest movement for his resignation.

“I have not received a cent from this fraudulent system,” he said Monday.

“I … continue reading

Via:: Tico Times