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García and Toledo: Two Former Peruvian Presidents in Trouble

Accusations and investigations have made the last weeks busy for former Peruvian presidents Alan García and Alejandro Toledo. Although both former leaders have always been in the news in one form or another, this time they have coincided with their reason for making headlines.

In the middle of last April, an accusation [es] arose that someone convicted of drug trafficking had become part of the Commission of Presidential Pardons during Garcia's term, in which 5,478 presidential pardons were granted [es] (including common pardons, humanitarian pardons and commutations of penalty). Some of these pardons were granted to people convicted of crimes such as illicit drug trafficking in an aggravated and asset-laundering way. An estimated 800 of those that received pardons repeated their crimes [es].

Then, the congressional commission [es] investigating irregularities in Alan García's term received an accusation that there were charges [es] from prisoners who wanted access to these services. Ex-ministers from APRA, the political party of Alan García, denied [es] any participation in these illicit actions. The ex-president made a statement [es] before the ombudsman that the commission was violating his rights by using the information without telling him details of what topics would be addressed beforehand. Moreover, he declared [es] that Humala's government was following in a Chavez-like model and “looking to destroy their adversaries.”

Alan Garcia, photo from TV Culture on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Alan Garcia, photo from TV Culture on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Ex-president García appeared [es] before the congressional commission several times to respond [es] to alleged irregularities in “Water for All,” a program created to bring drinkable water and sewage systems to populations without this benefit. In addition, he appeared to respond to irregularities detected in the case of the acquisition process of the “Integral system of commercial activities” from the Drinkable Water and Sewage System of Lima (Sedapal), as well as the previously mentioned pardons.

This commission, after unanimously approving [es] a report that found alleged administrative irregularities in a case concerning Sedapal, [es] agreed also by a majority to recommend [es] a constitutional accusation against ex-president Alan García for alleged irregularities in the “Water for All” program, including the passage of the Emergency Decrees exempting the program from the requirement for feasibility studies or technical records.

Shortly after the Public Ministry also approved [es] the lifting [es] of the tax secret of the ex-president, in the course of the investigations for the purchase of a house valuing US $ 830 million in Miraflores, a neighborhood in Lima.

In the blog La Otra Mirada [The Other View], Yorka Gamarra explains [es] the context for the investigative commission and comments on the other investigations, specifically the irregularities in the renovation projects of emblematic schools (large state schools that achieved prestige given their long existence):

Uno de los casos más relevantes por sus implicancias sociales es el referido a los Colegios Emblemáticos. [...] lo que ha encontrado la Megacomisión es que el informe que sustenta el Decreto de Urgencia mencionado [el que crea la figura de Colegios Emblemáticos], se habría mandado a hacer después de su aprobación. Es decir, se sustenta en un documento que en el momento de su aprobación, no existía.

One of the most relevant cases given its social implications is that of the emblematic schools. [...] the commission has found that support of the Emergency Decrees mentioned [that which created the figure of the Emblematic Schools], would have ordered their approval later. That is to say, they would have sustained a document that in its moment of approval, didn't exist.

On the other hand, the blog Ideeleradio [Ideal Radio] interviewed [es] Fernando Valencio, director of newspaper Diario 16, against which ex-president García presented [es] a defamation lawsuit. In the interview, Valencia said:

¿Por qué es que creo que Alan García está interesado en querellarnos? Porque creo que definitivamente les preocupa el tema de la megacomisión. Y como conté en una de mis primeras columnas, comentando esta querella, coincidentemente a inicios de los primeros resultados de la megacomisión recibimos una oferta, una jugosa inversión publicitaria, y se nos solicitaba que en las portadas no incluyéramos este tipo de temas. Obviamente, nosotros nos negamos y, bueno, ya estamos viendo las consecuencias

Why is it that I believe Alan García is interested in fighting us? Because I definitively believe he is worried about the investigative commission. And as I said in one of my first columns discussing this argument, coincidentally at the beginning of the first results of the commission, we received an offer, a juicy advertising investment, that we were asked not to include in the front pages. Obviously, we refused and, well, we are already seeing the consequences.

But the case of ex-president García was pushed to the side when the relationship between ex-president Alejandro Toledo and the purchase [es] of an office and three parking lots for his mother-in-law Eva Fernenburg, valuing more than US $ 882,000. It should be noted that Toledo is already facing a similar case for the the purchase of a house [es] the exclusive Casuarinas neighborhood, valuing 3.7 million dollars, also for his mother-in-law, as well an investigation [es] into the purchase of a beach house in the Punta Sal resort (Tumbes).

Alejandro Toledo, foto de Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Alejandro Toledo, photo from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Congressional Fiscal Commission immediately approved [es] the request for full special powers to investigate the ex-president. The Legal Office of Money Laundering requested [es] that the Public Prosecutor block real estate purchased by Alejandro Toledo's mother-in-law. More recently, the legal office for anti corruption announced [es] that it would ask the Attorney to start a preliminary investigation against the former President.

In the blog Política Shit [Political Shit] Oscar P. brings together some of the reactions of sympathizers and members of Toledo's political party, adding [es]:

Quien en este país puede darse los lujos así como se los da la suegra de Alejando Toledo ? ojo que su suegra ya va acumulando casi 4 millones de dolares en propiedades y claro antes de eso Toledo se quedo mudo y un dia antes de conmemorarse una fecha mas de ese trágico incidente como el Holocausto soltó la noticia y se escudo en que su suegra fue una victima y por lo tanto tiene plata guardada.

Who in this country can give luxury like Alejandro Toledo has given his mother-in-law? Look, his mother-in-law has already accumulated almost 4 million dollars in property and it's clear that before Toledo stayed silent and a day before commemorating the anniversary of an incident more tragic incident than the Holocaust dropped the news and was hidden in his mother-in-law was a victim and therefore has silver-plated.

Edu, in the blog Coyuntura Peruana [Peruvian Situation], comes to the defense of ex-president Toledo and writes [es]:

Esta claro que todo tipo de investigaciones no esta demás, sin embargo me parece una exageración ( no el acto de investigar sino el gesto o el trato de la noticia) lo que hacen algunos periodistas sobre la compra que hizo la mama de la ex-primera Dama Eliane Karp. [...] O acaso no saben los periodistas que critican este acto(me refiero a la compra) que tanto la ex-primera Dama como el Presidente Toledo no han trabajado toda su vida para tener el dinero que pudieran haber reunido, fruto de su esfuerzo de toda su vida.

It's clear that every type of investigation is not additional, however it seems an exaggeration to me (not the act of investigating but the gesture and treatment of the news) what those journalists report about the purchase that Dama Eliane Karp, mother of the ex-president, made. [...] The journalists criticize this act (I'm referring to the purchase) that both the ex-first lady and President Toledo have not worked their entire lives to take the money that might have been collected, the fruit of his effort throughout his life.

For his part, ex-president Alejandro Toledo has declared [es] that this is an attempt to debilitate him politically, and although he said he doesn't exactly know who is behind it, he mentioned fujimorismo. And his ex-minister, Juan Sheput states [es] that the government is responsible for the leak of documents about the investigations of the real estate purchases.

Jorge Muguerza Sotomayor, in the blog Gestypro opined [es] in a similar way but looked in a different direction:

Quién quiere acorralar a Toledo. ¿Nadine o García? A quién le conviene dejar de aparecer en los medios. Nadine está interesada en la elección y Toledo no es contrincante de polendas, además es aliado del gobierno. Toledo ya cavo su propia tumba electoral. AGP quiere desviar la atención sobre sus actos de gobierno relacionados con la corrupción? Ustedes saquen la cuenta. A quién le interesa más, esta cortina de humo.

Who wants to hunt down Toledo? Nadine or García? Who will convince him to stop appearing in the media? Nadine is interested in the election and Toledo is not an opponent of polendas, but an ally of the government. Toledo has already dug his own electoral tomb. AGP wants to divert attention from their own corruption-related acts of government corruption? You remove the account. What interests you more is this curtain of smoke.

Alejandro Toledo arrived [es] in Lima last Thursday, May 23, and arranged a meeting [es] with the Congressional Fiscal Commission for Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m. The topic will continue making headlines.

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