In Peru, an alleged corruption network at the top of the state

One year after the failed coup d’état and the dismissal of ex-president Pedro Castillo (2021-2022), Peru is experiencing a new political earthquake as it knows the secret. This time, it shakes the highest echelon of the public prosecutor’s office: the attorney general, Patricia Benavides, was suspended from her post on Wednesday, December 6, during a disciplinary procedure. Mme Benavides could drag down a good number of magistrates and parliamentarians with his fall.

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According to the Special Team against corruption within power (EFICCOP), Mme Benavides is suspected of being at the head of a criminal organization and an influence peddling network, particularly within Congress, the only parliamentary chamber. She allegedly attempted to illegally influence various institutions of the Republic, in particular in order to dismiss members of the National Council of Justice (JNJ), responsible for appointing judges, prosecutors and directors of the electoral body. The JNJ is investigating several cases concerning her, and it is he who has just suspended her for six months.

According to the EFICCOP investigation, the prosecutor would have received for her maneuver the support of a certain number of parliamentarians in exchange for their impunity, themselves being prosecuted for various crimes of corruption or money laundering.

“Mafia interests”

This is not a crisis of the public prosecutor’s office or of justice, but rather a political crisis, comments Walter Alban, former people’s defender and member of the Proetica corruption observatory. Because behind this affair, there is above all the Congress, with a coalition of political groups that are nevertheless ideologically antagonistic, bringing together Fuerza Popular, the party of ex-president Alberto Fujimori [droite autoritaire] and the far left of Peru Libre [camp de Pedro Castillo]. All are driven by mafia interests and sometimes linked to criminal organizations. »

These parliamentarians would defend their own interests above all, “which range from land usurpations to the business of private universities or illegal mining activities”. “This Congress, says Mr. Alban, has taken control of the State, the public prosecutor is complicit and the executive power, a puppet. »

For the former anti-corruption prosecutor Martin Salas, the Congress would have succeeded in putting in place, with the support of Benavides, a “parliamentary dictatorship” by taking control of institutions such as the Constitutional Court, the Office of the People’s Defender and part of the Supreme Court, thanks to a totally subservient executive. “The criminal organization is not found within the public prosecutor’s office, but within the State,” he says.

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