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Guatemalan Congress to rule on lifting President Jimmy Morales’ immunity

Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2017. 10:31 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: As pressure mounts against Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales over allegations of corruption and an investigation into unaccounted campaign financing, the Guatemalan congress is now considering a request to lift Morales’ immunity.

The court’s decision on Monday is related to allegations of illegal financing for Morales’ 2015 campaign, in which prosecutors allege that about $825,000 in financing for his campaign was hidden and that other expenditures had no explainable source of funding. Investigations have targeted several political parties including Morales’ National Convergence Front.

“There appears to be sufficient evidence to allow the transfer of the case to congress,” a Supreme Court spokesman said. Guatemala’s congress must now form a five-member committee to examine the case and present its conclusion to the full body.

Morales has denied any wrong doing and following the ruling, he said he has always defended the rule of law. He added that he would continue to respect the country’s institutions and asked Guatemalans to remain objective.

Last month, chief prosecutor Thelma Adana and Ivan Velasquez, the head of a UN anti-corruption commission (CICIG) operating in Guatemala, announced they were seeking to have Morales’ immunity stripped. Two days later the president ordered Velasquez’s immediate expulsion from the country, but that was swiftly overturned by the Constitutional Court.

Morales won the presidency in 2015, running on a platform of honest governance after his predecessor Otto Perez Molina was forced to resign and was imprisoned in a multi-million dollar corruption case stemming from a CICIG investigation.

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