Guatemala president expels UN anti-corruption chief

AP , Sunday 27 Aug 2017

A man holds up a campaign poster of Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales during a gathering to show support for the Commissioner of the United Nations International Commission Against Impunity, Ivan Velasquez in Guatemala City, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 (Photo: AP)

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced Sunday he is expelling the head of a U.N. anti-corruption commission that is investigating the president's campaign financing.

A video posted on the government's Twitter site showed Morales declaring Ivan Velasquez "non grata" and ordering him to leave the country immediately. He also announced he was firing Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales for failure to carry out the expulsion.

Velasquez heads a 10-year-old commission of experts that has worked with Guatemalan prosecutors to root out corruption in the country. It was key to bringing down former President Otto Perez Molina, who was forced to resign in 2015 and remains in prison.

Chief prosecutor Thelma Aldana, working with the U.N. commission, announced on Friday that she was asking the Supreme Court recommend stripping Morales of his immunity from prosecution in order to investigate financing of his 2015 campaign, when he ran on the slogan "Neither corrupt nor a crook." If the court agrees, the decision on immunity would be made by Congress.

The prosecutor said Morales had refused to account for more than $800,000 in campaign financing and had hidden his own party's accounts.
Morales has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Some 2,500 people demonstrated in the capital on Saturday to demand Morales resign.

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