Guatemala court blocks president’s call to boot U.N. anti-corruption chief

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has issued a temporary injunction blocking the expulsion of a top United Nations anti-corruption official — which had been ordered by the country’s leader, President Jimmy Morales.

In a 3-2 vote Sunday, the court suspended the decision by Morales to expel Ivan Velasquez, chief of the U.N.’s Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

Morales’ decision came after the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office asked the Supreme Court to remove the presidential immunity from prosecution so he can be investigated for alleged violations of campaign finance laws.

Morales, in his capacity as leader of his FCN-Nacion political party, “impeded the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the citizenry from learning the identity of the financiers who contributed to his campaign,” Attorney General Thelma Albana said on Friday.

Evidence indicates the party broke the law by accepting anonymous contributions and failed to report them, Velasquez said.

The court ruling means Velasquez, an attorney from Colombia, can remain in Guatemala and continue his investigation.

Prior to the ruling, Velasquez was “shocked to learn” of his expulsion, a U.N. statement said, noting that Velazquez and Morales met last week at United Nations headquarters in New York City.

the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala was established in 2006 when the United Nations and Guatemala City agreed to an independent international body to support the country’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, its National Civil Police and other government agencies in investigating crimes allegedly committed by illegal security forces.

Velasquez has held the U.N. post since January 2016.

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