Updated 06:34 AM EST, Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Guatemala Corruption Case: Private Secretary to Former President Alvaro Surrenders to Police

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In a recent development in the Guatemala corruption scandal, a businessman who once functioned as the private secretary of former President Alvaro Colom surrendered to the authorities on Monday.

In an Associated Press report published by The New York Times, it was noted that Gustavo Alejos Cambara surrendered, facing the cases related to a corruption scheme in the purchase of medicines by the government. Cambara reportedly worked for Colom from 2008 to 2012.

The secretary allegedly took kickbacks from the "irregular purchases" of medicines meant to be distributed to government hospitals in Guatemala. He earlier denied any involvement in the corruption scandal.

He submitted himself in the company of his legal counsels, as per The New York Times. A judge has ordered Cambara to stay overnight and wait for the resumption of the hearing on Tuesday.

However, La Prensa mentioned that he was taken into custody on Tuesday for "the crimes of conspiracy, influence peddling and active bribery for allegedly leading a network of corruption social insurance."

Judge Silvia Leon sent him to custody for the next three months since he is considered a flight risk and an obstruction to investigation.

"Let's wait for the trial," said Alejos Cámbara told reporters on Tuesday.

 La Razon mentioned that the businessman was linked to various pharmaceutical firms and aided the authorities who took advantage of their position in the medicine procurement of the government.

"According to the indictment, the employer exercised mediator favoring hiring these suppliers in return for payment of commissions," added the same report.

The Associated Press noted that prosecutors have already detained 11 others who have been linked to the scheme, where medicine sellers connived buyers to fix the bidding process for medicines and then offered kickbacks for such.

Other people arrested for the case included the following as per El Periodico:

  • Roberto Estrada Francisco Morales ­ Director General Diseases Hospital IGSS, Zone 9 conspiracy and passive bribery.
  •  Carlos Enrique Palma Carranza ­ Hospital director Juan Jose Arevalo, Zone 6 ­ conspiracy and passive bribery.
  • René Navas Hugo Bonilla, director of the hospital of the IGSS ­ -- passive bribery and illicit association.
  • Carlos Rodolfo Salvatierra Soto, Peripheral Unit Director IGSS ­-- passive bribery and illicit association.
  • Marcelo Noguera Sagastume, Chief Financial Unit of the hospital Juan Jose Arevalo --  conspiracy and passive bribery.
  • Stuart César Hernández Monroy, Medical Oncology Unit ­-- conspiracy and passive bribery.
  • John Paul Muralles Moran, nephew of Juan Jose Rodriguez -- designated to coordinate the criminal network ­ operator and supplier conspiracy, influence peddling and passive bribery.
  •  Alejandro Toledo Enrique Paz ­ -- operator and supplier­ conspiracy, influence peddling and passive bribery.
  • José Rafael Arreaga Fuentes --­ supplier of medicines ­and passive bribery conspiracy.
  •  José Rodolfo Barrientos Montepeque ­ --supplier, ­passive bribery and illicit association.
  • Matthew Stuart Ramazzini Menendez --­ supplier, illicit association and influence peddling.

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