Honduras’ attorney general and his assistant have resigned amidst accusations of financial irregularities found within their office, calling attention to the high-level corruption and incompetence faced as the country struggles to reduce violent crime.
Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi and Assistant Attorney General Roy Urtecho announced their resignation to Congress on June 26, shortly after a congressional body recommended their impeachment based on administrative irregularities discovered during investigation into Public Ministry.
Rubi and his team were suspended in April for a 60-day period following a congressional vote. They were temporarily replaced by a five-member oversight committee responsible for assessing the work of the office and for overhauling the institution. Irregularities found included apparent misuse of money for travel expenses and suspiciously high salaries for certain employees, reported El Heraldo. In addition, the commission accused the two men of “inadequate management” of the institution, stating that investigations undertaken during the two men’s time in office have been “poor and deficient.”
The intervention committee said that they were awaiting a report from the government comptroller’s office (Tribunal Superior de Cuentas), which was conducting a thorough investigation into the findings, reported La Prensa.
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The resignation of the country’s two top legal advisors is yet another indication of the extent of ineffectiveness and corruption among the country’s highest officials. One official blamed the Public Ministry in March for failure to cooperate in Honduras’ ongoing police reform process, and Rubi himself admitted in April that the Public Ministry is only “capable of investigating” 20 percent of homicides that occur in Honduras. While the attorney general blamed a lack of resources for these inefficiencies, the latest accusations indicate that misuse of resources is also a major problem.
Attempts to root out corruption and reform institutions in Honduras in the past year have led to the investigation of eight former top level police officials for alleged financial crimes, as well as the dismissal of hundreds of police officers who failed confidence tests. However, the reform process has been criticized as slow and inefficient.
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