Peru justice minister accused of peddling influence

By March 3, 2015

Anti-corruption prosecutors have accused Peru’s justice minister, Fredy Otarola, of using his position to secure government jobs for friends and allies.

Peruvian television news program, Panorama, revealed leaked emails and other documents that show hiring recommendations were sent from Otarola family members to the director of the Ancash COFOPRI office, which is tasked with formalizing informal properties.

Several attorneys and clerical workers with ties to Otarola’s family received job offers or existing contract extensions, while other organization employees were let go.

The COFOPRI director in Ancash, Benigno Falcon, denied improprieties in his hiring decisions and he was not aware of who is related to Fredy Otarola. “Nobody believes that a public official would send an email of this nature, with copies worldwide, from his official email. It is outside reality, and the contents have obviously been done to harm me.”

After the revelations were aired, Falcon was dismissed from his position. He is replaced by Israel Oblitas, who worked in the same capacity in Cusco.

Otarola declared that the accusations have been trumped up by political opponents in Huaraz, the provincial seat of Ancash department. He stated that his own efforts against corruption in the region have made enemies.

In a cabinet shakeup by President Ollanta Humala, Otarola was promoted from labor minister to justice minister last month.


Familia de Fredy Otárola influyó en contrataciones de Cofopri (El Comercio)

Cesan a jefe de la Oficina Zonal de Cofopri en Áncash (Andina)

Jefe de Cofopri en Áncash fue cesado por presunto tráfico de influencias (La Republica)