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EXPERT WITNESS EXPLAINS DOUBLE BILLING IN CASE OF FORMER MILITARY OFFICIALS

Guatemala, 29 May 2014. In the case against retired military officials, Jacobo Esdras Salán Sánchez and Napoleón Rojas Méndez, both charged with embezzlement, and being tried before the Second Trial Court, the expert witness presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP), Manuel Antonio Hernández Batres, gave details today of the double billing used to embezzle millions from the Ministry of National Defence in 2001.

Hernández Batres said that the documentation used to justify the "secret" expenses in 2001 was used twice, that is, the same document was used to justify two different expenses: ordinary expenses and "secret" expenses, which is not acceptable in accordance with accounting principles.

The expert witness explained that when reviewing the budget documentation of the Ministry of National Defence, he found that in 2001, 79 certifications were issued to justify "secret" expenses. Furthermore, after requesting documentation justifying the expenditure, the expert only found photocopies of invoices and contracts, which, in his opinion, was not evidence that an audit had been conducted.

It was also proven that GTQ 120 million was misappropriated, the main issue being addressed at the trial, and also that the Army Department of Finance, under orders of the then Minister of National Defence, issued 5 certifications of expenditure classified as military secrets.

The deposit of GTQ 30 million at the National Mortgage Credit Bank (CHN) was also proven by deposit slips of 5, 6 and 9 March 2001, and GTQ 4.8 million was deposited on 30 March 2001.

The trial will continue on 3 June at 9:00 am.


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  The Republic of Guatemala, a mountainous country that lies in the Central American isthmus, has an estimated population of 13 million people.
  Guatemala won its independence in 1821, following almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
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