Politics 07-11-2018

Bolivian parliamentary committee links former president Mesa with Lava Jato case

Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa (2003-2005), along with eight other former government authorities, is on the list of a parliamentary investigative commission as allegedly involved in the international corruption case known as Lava Jato.

"We have finished the investigation with eight people who have very serious indications is involved a minister of (the former president) Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, two ministers, a deputy minister and Carlos Mesa himself, and a minister of (the former president) Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé (2005-2006), "Deputy Prime Minister Susana Rivero, president of the commission, said at a press conference.

The list of suspects receiving bribes is completed by two ex-managers of the former National Highway Service, a state counterpart of the investigated highway project, which had been negotiated first with the construction company Odebrecht and ended up awarded to Camargo Correa, both Brazilian companies.

Rivero, president of the commission of the Plurinational Assembly that dealt for six months with the local branches of Java Lato, made the announcement hours after Mesa, now an opposition presidential candidate, requested that the investigation be extended to the current government of Evo Morales.

The deputy explained that the three governments (2002-2005) that preceded the current one were investigated because in them the road project was negotiated and contracted, while in the Morales administration only an adjustment of the interest of the used credit was managed.

The plenary session of the Plurinational Assembly will decide in the next few weeks, based on the report of the commission, if it asks the Attorney General's Office to open a criminal investigation against the eight indicated.

Rivero added that "three indications prove that Lava Jato arrived in Bolivia (...), we have decoded the suspicious and unusual (bank) movements of Mr. Mesa, surely the competent body should investigate who corresponds and where they come from".

Mesa reiterated that he considered himself a victim of a "political execution" and stated that his government did not receive any payment for the highway contract.

Rivero affirmed, on the other hand, that the Mesa government authorized the signing of the contract with Camargo Correa and that that of Rodríguez Veltzé made an adjustment to the agreement.

Mesa and former President Jorge Quiroga (2001-2002) benefited last September with an amnesty decreed by Morales, who freed them from other trials for alleged corruption.


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