PRESS RELEASE 024
FORMER MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON
Guatemala, 13 June 2014. The Eighth Trial Court sentenced former Minister of the Interior, Raúl Antonio Velásquez Ramos, to three commutable years in prison for noncompliance of duties, because he failed to verify compliance with the Agreement of Financial Administration MINGOB-DGSP-03-2009, which was entered into between the Ministry of the Interior and the NGO Fundtech, the company in charge of renovating the male prison Fraijanes II.
The government auditors of the Comptroller General's Office were also each sentenced to a one-year prison sentence, Luis Antonio Álvarez Pereira and Francisco Javier Villatoro Villanueva—both on the charge of noncompliance of duties, because they failed to report the findings of their government audit reports regarding the project titled "Centro de Rehabilitación para Hombres Fraijanes II".
Former Minister Velásquez Ramos was acquitted of abuse of authority and Francisco Javier Alvarado Cuadra and Carlos Enrique López Gutiérrez (former employees of the Comptroller General's Office) were acquitted of noncompliance of duties.
The MP and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) presented evidence at trial such as expert opinions of the Comptroller General's Office and documentation on the renovation of the aforementioned prison.
The Court ordered the immediate release of Velásquez, who had spent the last three years in prison, during the whole duration of the proceedings. Velásquez, however, will be unable to leave prison as he is being prosecuted in the Maskana case.
CICIG acts as a complementary prosecutor in this case.
The Fraijanes II case concerns the aforementioned agreement, entered into between former Minister of the Interior Salvador Gándara and the NGO Fundtech, which subsequently contracted the company Serdiconstru to renovate the Fraijanes II prison. Serdiconstru was contracted with the aim of benefitting the Lainfiesta group of enterprises.
The investigations revealed that there had been irregularities in procurement procedures and in the execution of the project, as well as in the actions taken by Fundtech and then-officials (2009) of the Ministry of the Interior.
The former Minister of the Interior Raúl Velásquez failed to verify fulfillment of MINGOB-DGSP-03-2009, a financial administration agreement, and signed ADDENDUM 02-2009 in order to extend the term and optimize the competiveness of allocated funding, thereby modifying the subject of the agreement.