Pro- and Anti-Chavez Public Servants Disqualified for Acts of Corruption in Venezuela

Four pro-government public servants, including two ex mayors, have been disqualified from political activity for one year due to acts of corruption during the exercise of their previous positions. A fifth, an opposition legislator, has also been disqualified.

By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com

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Mérida, March 22nd 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Four pro-government public servants, including two ex mayors, have been disqualified from political activity for one year due to acts of corruption during the exercise of their previous positions. A fifth, an opposition legislator, has also been disqualified.

In the first case, the General Comptroller’s Office disqualified an ex mayor from the state of Aragua named Carlos Miranda, as well as his wife, Liz Jaramillo, acting president of the Foundation for Integral Attention for Children and Women in her municipality.

Miranda ran on a coalition pro-Chavez ticket in 2004 regional elections.

According to the government’s official gazette published last Friday, Miranda and his wife could not explain the source of Bs 242,645 ($US 56,429) in relation to legitimate income received during the period of 1 July 2006 to 31 October 2008.

The second case involved ex mayor Numa Rojas, from Monagas state, and his partner Odilia Fernandez, president of the Bolivarian House for Women. The two are both pro-Chavez figures.

Their case involved a similar period, and Bs 1,838,058 ($US 427,455) of unexplained income.

According to El Universal, this is Rojas’ second sanction of such a nature.

The final case involves Hernan Aleman, ex-mayor from Zulia state who is currently a legislator in the National Assembly. In his assets declaration, he did not explain Bs 1,358,848 ($US 316,011). Aleman, a member of the opposition party A New Time, will only be disqualified from political office once he finishes his term as legislator.

The Comptroller determined that in all three cases the public officials distorted or omitted property in their sworn declarations of personal assets, a declaration that all public officials, including some communal council spokespeople, have to make.

According to the Law against Corruption, people must provide the Comptroller’s office with the necessary information so that it can check their assets declarations and make sure they have not made any illegal earnings while exercising their position.

The Attorney General, Luisa Ortega, informed press today that the Public Prosecutor’s office concluded 3,210 cases of corruption under the Law against Corruption in 2010. 18 of these were against bankers.

She also said that in 2010 the government carried out 2,500 workshops with communal councils to educate them about how to make denunciations as well as in the areas of gender violence, human rights, and citizen values.

Corruption is a historic problem in Venezuela, mostly because of its dependency on its petroleum income.

Local and national private media outlets, as well as international media, have often accused the Venezuelan government of political persecution when certain opposition figures have been arrested for corruption, but Ortega has responded that the arrests are criminal, not political, and part of the campaign against corruption.

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