Peru ‘Narco-Pardons’ Investigation Inches Closer to Ex-President

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Peru’s anti-corruption “mega-commission” has urged the country’s attorney general to investigate former President Alan Garcia over his personal involvement in pardons handed out to drug traffickers as the “narco-pardons” scandal makes it into the president’s office.

Head of the congressional commission Sergio Tejada called on Attorney General Jose Pelaez to launch an official probe into Garcia’s role in 12 of the more than 400 pardons issued to drug traffickers during Garcia’s 2006 to 2011 presidential term, reported Agencia Andina

The call comes a little over two weeks after Peru’s top anti-corruption prosecutor Walther Delgado issued a report to Pelaez in which he singled out 27 of the so-called “narco-pardons” cases. Garcia’s support for the pardons provided significant benefit in 12 of those cases, reported El Economista.

It is not within the remit of Delgado to investigate Garcia, which is why he has urged Pelaez to do so, reported El Comercio.

InSight Crime Analysis

The cross-party commission was originally approved just months after Garcia left power in 2011 in order to investigate allegations of corruption and constitutional violations during his presidency.

Revelations of the more than 400 incarcerated drug traffickers pardoned first emerged in April, with Garcia claiming they were all low level traffickers released in order to unclog the country’s prisons. However, accusations of money changing hands and of higher-profile traffickers being among those released or handed shorter sentences have muddied the waters, while others previously pardoned were subsequently re-arrested.

Until the latest turn of events, it appeared that the scandal would be more likely to take down Garcia’s underlings that were directly responsible for the pardons, but now the commission’s latest comments open the way for the investigation to make it as far as the president’s office, and Garcia’s personal involvement in the pardons.

However, even if the investigation does reach Garcia’s door, it would not be a major shock for a country where all of the major presidential candidates in the last election have been linked in some way to drug trafficking, while two of Garcia’s predecessors, Alberto Fujimori and Alejandro Toledo, are involved in their own corruption scandals. It would, though, represent a serious blow to Garcia’s bid for a third term in office, which he is rumored to be preparing for the next elections in 2016. 

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