Guatemala: Corrupt Businessmen To Build Roads, School

Guatemala sentenced nine businessmen convicted of paying bribes for public contracts to pay for the construction of several roads and a school as part of their punishment.

park-1418783 640Central Park, Guatemala City (Photo Credit: Pixabay)The nine had pleaded guilty to bribing former Minister of Communications, Alejandro Sinibaldi, and apart from paying for the constructions, they will will have to serve five years in prison and pay over US$ 67,000 dollars in fines each, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations-supported commission announced on Wednesday.

Sinibaldi is still at large, reports Reuters. CICIG and Guatemalan prosecutors exposed the deals last year.

The Central American country has faced other corruption scandals in recent months. In January, a former general was arrested for paying President Jimmy Morales a “Bonus for Extraordinary Responsibility” of $7,300 a month, according to Reuters.

Morales claims the payments were legal. He continues though to face allegations of corruption. During his campaign, Morales ran on an anti-corruption platform.

“Our Government is fully committed to the fight against corruption and impunity,” Morales told the U.N. General Assembly in September.

The CICIG, however, has faced obstacles from the government, including the withdrawal of police investigators that were initially at the commission’s disposal.

Formed in 2006 by a U.N. decree to investigate widespread high-level corruption that has implicated former president Otto Perez Molina, the body is now investigating Morales along with dozens of other ministers, politicians, and businessman, according to OCCRP.

Guatemala has seen mass protests and calls for the removal of the current president after his son and brother were arrested for fraud, and more than half of congress is alleged to have created a “corruption pact” to uphold immunity for politicians.

The commission has been popular amongst Guatemalans for their effective investigations that expose crooked politicians.