HomeNewsPeru's Anti-Corruption Crusade Grows Weaker
NEWS

Peru's Anti-Corruption Crusade Grows Weaker

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 DEC 2021 BY ALEJANDRA RODRIGUEZ EN

Authorities in Peru have dismantled a complex corruption network that spanned various levels of government, underscoring how deep-rooted graft networks have persisted in the country.

Since early December, Lima's anti-corruption prosecutor has cracked down on a ring known as Los Gestores (The Managers), largely made up of officials from the economy and housing ministries. So far, 11 people were arrested, including federal officials, as well as mayors and governors who allegedly collaborated with the group.

The scheme appears to have involved federal officials demanding bribes from mayors and regional governors. The kickbacks were worth five percent of the total value of desired infrastructure projects.

The network operated in a highly specialized fashion. The federal officials had appointed intermediaries, or "managers," around the country to connect them with local governments to ensure the approval of public works. In order for that approval to be obtained, the five percent commission had to be paid, according to Omar Tello, Peru's national coordinator of anti-corruption prosecutors.

SEE ALSO: Peru's Crusade Against Corruption Faces Severe Uphill Struggle

According to Tello, the corruption scheme involved infrastructure projects across several regions of Peru, including Loreto, Junín and Huánuco.

"We have much more to investigate. We are talking about public works...which together add up to approximately $250 million," Tello told the media outlet RPP Noticias.

Peru's Economy Minister, Pedro Francke, asked for regional governments to cooperate and provide full details about any suspicious public works contracts in their area.

InSight Crime Analysis

The case of Los Gestores showcases how, despite several stop-start efforts, attempts to reform Peru's entrenched state corruption have failed.

It is uncertain what kind of consequences the officials involved will face if found guilty. But the circumstances are troubling. A recent report by Ojo Público recently revealed how 57 of Peru's most high-profile corruption cases, including some involving former presidents and high court judges, remain unresolved.

There are plentiful examples in Peru of elites receiving light punishment if any at all. In 2014, when more than 115 political candidates were investigated for ties with drug trafficking but almost no one was convicted. Former president Alan García was also investigated for allegedly accepting bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for pardons.

The list of these cases shows how widespread corruption is across Peru's state institutions, involving former presidents, members of congress, army officers, officials at the transport, health, justice and education ministries, high court judges, police commanders and health insurance executives.

According to a report by Peru's Comptroller-General, "in 2019, corruption generated damages worth...3 percent of GDP."

SEE ALSO: Peru Governor Accused in China Wood Trafficking Network

This is a sad state of affairs for a country that saw a renewed push to root out corruption networks in 2018 and 2019 during the presidency of Martín Vizcarra. The former president took a hatchet to institutions of state mired in corruption and created a new selection board to appoint judges independently, which has not yielded the expected results.

But since Vizcarra was impeached in November 2020 in connection to yet another bribery allegation, it appears any lingering hopes have faded. Just in November, the governor of Peru's Madre de Dios department, a hotbed of illegal gold mining and deforestation, was accused of coordinating a timber trafficking network involving several Chinese timber companies.

The list of 57 stalled corruption cases is set to only grow longer.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CHILE / 1 JUN 2022

A new report by Chilean think tank AthenaLab has laid bare Chile's ever-increasing spectrum of criminal threats, from copper theft…

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 OCT 2022

Presidential assassination plots and the Jalisco Cartel's influence on government -- the juicy details of Mexico's SEDENA leaks.

ARGENTINA / 18 MAY 2021

A judge in Argentina has been charged with running a corruption network that included lawyers and a slain customs official,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…