El Salvador -- corruption edition
Corruption investigations,disclosures and prosecutions in El Salvador were a rare thing ten years ago. Not so any more. (Although convictions are something we are still waiting for). Here is some of the current news of corruption in El Salvador.
- An El Faro investigation has detailed how the legislative assembly awarded more than a half million dollars to an organization founded by the wife of the founder of the GANA party and current president of the National Assembly, Guillermo Gallegos. The organization is run by one of his assistants. The money was supposed to support violence prevention efforts in seven municipalities -- efforts that the municipalities say they never saw.
- Hearings concluded today regarding allegations of illegal enrichment of the former director of the state Institute of Social Security, Leonel Flores. Flores is accused of being unable to justify how his net worth grew significantly during his time in office.
- Reports are being disclosed how officials in both ARENA and FMLN governments going back 20 years have received cash bonus payments in addition to their salaries authorized by law. Former attorney general Luis Martinez, now being prosecuted for corruption, acknowledges receiving $10-20,000 per month in bonus payments. The former minister of health, Isabel Rodriguez says she also received cash bonus payments, although she was uncomfortable about it.
- A video has surfaced which seems to clearly show Salvadoran businessman Miguel Menéndez delivering a cash bribe to former attorney general Luis Martinez. (The delivery starts at 1:25 in the YouTube video).
- The Attorney General sued the former private secretary to president Tony Saca, Élmer Charlaix, for $18.7 million for illegal enrichment during Saca's presidency. (No doubt Saca, and not Charlaix, is the real target of this proceeding).
- The National Assembly is in the midst of determining whether a prosecution can proceed against José Atilio Benítez, the country's ambassador to Germany and former minister of defense, for trafficking in military weapons.
So no one should be surprised that the citizens of El Salvador do not hold their public officials in very high esteem.