27 August 2017

Guatemalan president orders out UN anti-corruption investigator

Guatemalan President Jimmy MoralesImage copyright

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President Morales declared Iván Velásquez Gómez persona non grata

Guatemala’s president has ordered the expulsion from the country of the head of the UN anti-corruption mission.

President Jimmy Morales ordered Iván Velásquez Gómez’s immediate removal in a video message released earlier in the day.

However the Constitutional Court quickly halted the order,

The UN agency has backed calls for the removal of Mr Morales’ political immunity and an inquiry into funding irregularities in the 2015 election.

In a video posted on social media, Mr Morales declared Colombian lawyer Iván Velásquez persona non grata.

“As president of the republic, for the interests of the Guatemalan people, strengthening of the rule of law, and institutionality, I declare Mr Iván Velásquez Gómez non grata, in his capacity as commissioner of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, and I order that he immediately leaves the Republic of Guatemala,” Mr Morales said.

Health Minister Lucre Hernández Mack‏ resigned in protest at the move.

She said on Twitter it had become “ethically and politically unviable” to work in such a government.

Mr Morales is a former comic actor who had never held public office before becoming president.

He surprised traditional politicians and won the election promising to tackle corruption and impunity.

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