The final report of Peru's corruption "mega-commission" has called for ex-president Alan Garcia to be constitutionally and criminally indicted for his role in the so-called "narco-pardons" scandal, although Garcia's supporters are already rallying for a counter-attack against the findings.
The report, which was obtained by TV station America Noticias (see video below), concluded that Garcia had exceeded his constitutional powers in granting hundreds of pardons, including to convicted drug traffickers, and thousands of commuted sentences.
The commission stated that the Garcia administration had effectively set up a "parallel justice system," and had not upheld its constitutional obligation to fight drug trafficking, reported El Comercio. It also called for a criminal investigation into an alleged cover up after Garcia granted a political ally a pardon from a 15 year sentence.
According to the report, the breadth of the case suggested it could not have been carried out by one or two people but must have involved a network.
Garcia's supporters leapt to the defense of the ex-president, with one allied Congressman calling it political persecution designed to remove Garcia from Peruvian politics, while Garcia's lawyer labeled the report "mutilated and schizophrenic," reported Peru21.
InSight Crime Analysis
The commission's call to expand the investigation beyond those immediately responsible and take it as far as the president's office shows an encouraging willingness to tackle endemic corruption in Peru.
However, as shown by the swift reaction of Garcia's supporters, the task will not be easy, with corrupt elites almost certain to try and close ranks to shut the investigation down.
The ability of top Peruvian politicians to overcome corruption charges was underscored by recent reports that both Garcia and his predecessor Alejandro Toledo, who was recently accused of money laundering and conspiracy, are both considering running for president in the next elections.
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However, nor should it be taken for granted that Garcia will escape prosecution; the president before Garcia and Toledo, Alberto Fujimori, continues to serve a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of corruption and human rights abuses, despite the best efforts of his powerful supporters.