The Honduran Public Ministry filed a formal accusation on Monday against 11 people, including two officials and a sister of President Juan Orlando Hernández, charged with various crimes of corruption.
The MP reported that these 11 people are involved in the theft of public funds that exceed 122 million lempiras (about four million dollars) through a shell company called Servicios e Inversiones AID.
The prosecutor’s request was presented to the Supreme Court of Justice because there were two secretaries of State among the accused, according to a document released by the MP.
The Specialized Fiscal Unit against Corruption Networks (UFERCO), in charge of the investigation called “Hermes”, indicated that in 2014 the then Minister of Communications and Government Strategy asked the Minister of Financial Management of the Presidential House to hire the company Servicios and AID Investments. UFERCO does not give a specific name, but the position was held by Hilda Hernández, who died in 2017 and was also the president’s sister.
According to the document released by the prosecution, that company signed 29 contracts with the Presidential House directly and systematically until December 2016.
“The contracts were signed for the provision of management service in the delivery of advertising to business and independent media digitally and physically to radio and television media nationwide,” the document details.
The amount “exceeded by more than 49 million lempiras (more than two million dollars) the budget approved by the Presidential House for advertising and propaganda.”
“Public funds were also used for the purchase of vehicles, air tickets, loans, construction of housing, payment of mortgage loans, elaboration of flags for political campaigns, design and assembly of restaurants, rental of armored vehicles, purchase of seed for the production of African palm tree nurseries, payroll payments from a commercial company and property purchase of 102 hectares of cultivated area of African palm”, adds the document.
Those named are the Secretary of State for Financial Management of the Presidential House, Pedro Alexander Pineda Díaz; the administrative manager of Casa Presidencial, Harvis Edulfo Herrera Carballo, the general accountant of Casa Presidencia, Lesly Mirella Fúnez Sierra and the administrative manager of Casa Presidencial, Axel Eduardo Huete González.
The four are accused of violation of the duties of officials, embezzlement of public funds and fraud.
Carol Vanessa Alvarado Izaguirre, Claudia Yamilia Noriega González and Normal Guillermo Noriega Rodríguez, accused of money laundering, are also singled out.
The request also includes the Deputy Chief of Budget Control of the Superior Court of Accounts, Mario Alberto Villanueva Menjívar, defendant of Testaferrato, as well as Gloria Margarita Vargas, sister of President Juan Orlando Hernández; Judit Mariel Muñoz Casteñada and Julio Antonio Galdámes Fuentes, indicted for the crime of aggravated cover-up.
The spokesman for the Public Ministry, Yuri Moral, told The Associated Press that after the presentation of the tax requirement to the people accused of money laundering, they would have to be issued an arrest warrant because the law contemplates it for this type of crimes.
In the case of the rest, their lawyers must appear before the Supreme Court of Justice to hear the request and determine the date on which their clients must be summoned to testify.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.