Peru President to challenge Public Ministry on corruption probe derailment

By January 2, 2019

Days after the Public Ministry and Attorney General Pedro Chávarry decided to dissolve the Lava Jato special council, President Martín Vizcarra has decided to fight back.

The special investigative team designed to look into corruption between Peruvian officials and the tainted Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht will be no more thanks to a recent ruling from the Public Ministry, which will allow Odebrecht to continue operating in the country. And although Vizcarra previously said he did not agree with the ruling but would respect the ministry’s independence, the commander-in-chief who has been vocal in his opposition to corruption is pushing back now.

On Wednesday, Vizcarra is set to ask Congress to impose a state of emergency on the Public Ministry through a bill. Vizcarra has told Congress he wants an active debate over the Public Ministry’s actions in relieving special prosecutors Rafael Vela Barba and José Domingo Pérez of their duties, “so as to not have to arrive at the question of trust.”

Chávarry’s decision Monday to relieve the prosecutors of their positions set off protests throughout Peru. Upon returning from Brazil where Vizcarra attended the inauguration ceremony for new Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, Peru’s President came back with a message to the people that the Executive Branch will try to find the best solution.

“We will not disappoint the population, especially in a year of consolidating our democracy in a fight against corruption,” Vizcarra said in a public message.