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Pedro Castillo, nearing the end of a year in power with four open cases in the Peruvian Public Prosecutor’s Office

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Peru’s President Pedro Castillo swears in new Interior Minister Willy Arturo.PRESIDENCY OF PERU (Europa Press)

Peru’s Attorney General Patricia Benavides on Thursday launched a new investigation into Pedro Castillo for the alleged crime of concealment. It came two days after the president fired Interior Minister Mariano Gonzales, and he attributed the sacking to the president’s uneasiness about the creation of a special police force. The unit had been requested by prosecutors investigating the corruption of the head of state and his entourage. In addition, another probe into influence was reopened this Friday, which former Attorney General Zoraida Ávalos opened in January but stayed on hold to allow proceedings to continue when Castillo leaves office.

Gonzales has told the press, the attorney general and the Congressional Oversight Commission that his firing means the new police team will be assembled at the request of Marita Barreto, who heads the so-called special team of prosecutors against the corruption of power, which has been in for a few weeks operation.

The probe into interference, which reopened this Friday, stems from the alleged intervention of the head of state, who is serving a year in office on Thursday, for the state oil company to decide last year to buy biodiesel for the company Heaven Petroleum Operators 74 million Dollar. This investigation comes on top of two others launched by former attorneys general Ávalos and Pablo Sánchez since Benavides took office earlier this month. Ávalos was the first prosecutor in the country to open an investigation in the history of the State Department against an incumbent president for crimes committed during his tenure – Martín Vizcarra, in 2020 – and to interpret it in accordance with the constitution’s required procedures be carried out as soon as he leaves office. Instead, in May, Sánchez began actively investigating Castillo because of the seriousness of the criminal organization’s allegations within the state apparatus.

Castillo, the former secretary general of the government palace, two of the president’s nephews and former transport minister Juan Silva are being investigated for criminal association, influence activities and aggravated collusion in the bid for a multi-million dollar public works project Amazonas. In the case known as Tarata Bridge, His relatives – one of them a refugee – colluded with stakeholders in a construction consortium and with Silva. Former Secretary of the Bureau. Bruno Pacheco and Silva have also been on the run for more than two months. The two interest managers act as informants before the public prosecutor’s office.

The Peruvian president’s other investigation concerns the alleged crime of interference in the 2021 military promotions. Although Gonzales has indicated that the team of colonels assembled on Monday must search for the fugitives from the Puente Tarata case, prosecutors Barreto have also subpoenaed for others major tasks: “highly complex investigations in the fight against corruption and organized crime,” says the document with which he applied for the formation of the specialist department on Saturday.

The special police investigation and judicial support team is led by Colonel Harvey Colchado, who previously headed the organized crime facility that arrested politicians in the Odebrecht case and corrupt judges investigated in the White Necks file – the mafia in the judicial system. In addition, in 2012 he was part of the patrol that arrested the leader of an armed column of drug terrorists, “Comrade Artemio”, Florindo Flores Hala, in the Amazon.

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investigations at risk

On Tuesday evening, the president announced on Twitter that he accepted Gonzales’ resignation and would appoint a successor in minutes: the seventh interior secretary in a year. Shortly after the swearing-in of a retired attorney and police officer, Willy Huerta, the deposed officer toured television and radio stations to denounce that his departure was a sign of the President’s obstruction of justice, as he intended to prevent discovery of the Refugees from the Puente Tarata case.

On Thursday, Gonzales told the Congressional Oversight Commission that the president called him around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and that after that dialogue, he decided to denounce the obstruction of justice. “It’s a call in which he obviously claimed me for making decisions without consultation: a very short call that lasted a minute and a half. I expressed the need for an explanation and told him that it was best to clarify the facts. The document says, “Gather all intelligence teams to find the fugitives,” and a few minutes later it tweets thanking me for the services rendered and stopping the team from working,” he wrote.

The former minister said he was outraged that the decisions he had made had been called into question: not just the formation of the team demanded by prosecutor Barreto, but – days before – the change in the intelligence chief of the National Police. “Obviously they were [medidas] In order to lead the sector, it is important to have an adequate intelligence system in place, both for fighting insecurity and for finding refugees,” he told parliamentarians. “The main concern is that when a four-component intelligence team is designated by ministerial decision to have the most qualified officers search for the fugitives, the abrupt decision is made to leave me and not put this into operation. decision,” he added.

Gonzales also pointed out in Parliament that the evidence he needs to get from prosecutors to investigate the president is the tape of Tuesday’s phone call. In the executive branch, the cabinet rejected Gonzales’ allegations. Prime Minister Aníbal Torres assured at a press conference on Wednesday that the sacked man had attended the Council of Ministers only twice, and that on one of those occasions he left before the session was over, and that he had not presented a plan to combat citizen insecurity, which they commissioned to have.

When the sector’s new minister was asked by the press if he would keep the specialized group of police officers, Huerta replied that he would speak to the team and suggested adding another member. However, judicial and investigative journalists have warned that leaks could occur if an agent arrives mole to inform the persons examined about the steps of the investigation.

Castillo will celebrate a year in power next Thursday, the 28th, and at least two of the seven interior ministers he appointed have reported upon leaving office that he has attempted to place trusted officials in the sector to inform police operations to be members of their entourage concerned, investigated or sought by courts. The country teacher came into office as a guest of a left-wing political formation, which he had to resign last month due to disagreements with the party founder. He faced two congressional votes to remove him and has changed more than 50 ministers in his government so far. According to a poll by Ipsos Peru, its support hit its lowest point in July at 20%.

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Source elpais.com

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