Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CICIG Has More than 50 Proofs Against Portillo

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Special Prosecutor of the Ministerio Publico (MP) brought an indictment against ex-president of Guatemala, Alfonso Portillo.

Portillo spent 4 years hiding in Mexico and was extradited to Guatemala six months ago. He is accused of embezzling Q120 million in state funds during his term in office. Those funds ended up in bank accounts belonging to his daughter and ex-wife, and those accounts are now frozen by the governments of France and Luxembourg where the banks are located.

The indictment contains more than 50 separate proofs including testimony from witnesses directly involved in the transfers.

Despite the evidence, the prosecution is presently stopped due to a protest of unconstitutionality raised by Moisés Galindo, one of the military officials linked to the case.

And there is another case against Portillo being investigated by the prosecutor involving the diversion of Q906 million in military funds. Six soldiers and retired general Enrique Ríos Sosa are linked to this second case.

There is direct evidence that several workers withdrew the funds and then handed over the cash to the senior military leaders, among them Portillo and then Interior Minister Eduardo Arevalo Lacs.

The investigative trail also leads to Portillo for embezzling Q34 million that went to the accounts of companies of José Armando Llort Quiteño, ex-president of Crédito Hipotecario Nacional, CHN (National Mortgage Bank). Llort was arrested in the U.S. and is now a protected witness.

Five witnesses, one of whom was murdered in March 2005, told how the money was handed to Llort Quiteño. In 2005, he decided to testify for the people and betray Portillo. He testified in the U.S. against the former military leader and several other architects of the embezzlements committed from 2001 to 2003.

Another witness, Salomón Molina Girón, former deputy manager of the CHN, explained that on the nights of March 5, 6 and 9 of 2001, the military transferred cash from the accounts of the Army into the vaults of CHN.

Four of the witnesses are abroad, for fear of reprisals.

800 Pounds of Marijuana Captured

Agents of SAIA arrested a man in Petén who was transporting 800 pounds of marijuana, headed for Zacapa and Chiquimula.

Samuel Barrios, chief of the PNC in Petén, confirmed the capture of Gregorio Jorge Humberto Gonzalez, 45, at kilometer 82 of the highway between Santa Elena and Poptún, near the village of Boca del Monte, Dolores.

Gonzalez was apprehended while transporting 38 packages of processed marijuana in a pickup truck. The marijuana was ready for sale and distribution, and included samples. The shipment was valued at Q340,000.

The shipment came from plantations along the border with Belize and Melchor de Mencos.

Last month in the area known as the Montañas del Chiquibul, Melchor de Mencos, five men were captured and 10 thousand marijuana plants were destroyed.