The Guatemalan government has removed 11 national police investigators from the International Commission Against Impunity for Corruption in Guatemala (CICIG), which its director, Ivan Velasquez, says was done to “affect the investigations” the commission is carrying out on high-ranking government officials for alleged political wrongdoing, including President Jimmy Morales.
The CICIG released a statement on its website upon hearing of the immediate and unexpected dismissals saying, “We have sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Governance, Enrique Antonio Degenhart Asturias, requesting information on the dismissal of these officers and that they are returned to their posts as soon as possible.”
The International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) was created in 2006 by a U.N. decree to investigate widespread high-level corruption within the country. CICIG’s investigation into President Morales was hampered by legislation passed in 2017 that granted the president impunity from corruption or embezzlement inquiries. CICIG is trying to maneuver around such questionably constitutional laws that protect him and other high-ranking elected officials.
The communique reminded the administration that the government is legally obliged to “offer its full assistance to enable CICIG to carry out its functions and activities” in Guatemala.
The commission says the administration did not tell the commission of the dismissals until these happened this week.
The Morales administration has been trying to weaken the power of the commission and Velasquez over the past several months, including giving Velasquez a written warning last October when the government renewed his Visa that read the CICIG director should, “abstain from interfering in internal affairs while in Guatemalan territory.”