Five Arrested in Venezuelan Crackdown on Corruption

Yesterday President Nicolas Maduro announced that five civil servants had been arrested for corruption. They were working for the China-Venezuela fund and allegedly embezzled US$84 million. The Merida city mayor, a member of the opposition, is also being investigated for corruption.

By Tamara Pearson
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President Nicolas Maduro in Amazonas state, announcing the arrests (AVN)
President Nicolas Maduro in Amazonas state, announcing the arrests (AVN)

Mérida, 9th July 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday President Nicolas Maduro announced that five civil servants had been arrested for corruption. They were working for the China-Venezuela fund and allegedly embezzled US$84 million. The Merida city mayor, a member of the opposition, is also being investigated for corruption.

The China-Venezuela fund receives contributions from the Chinese Development Bank and the Venezuelan National Development Fund, and funds socio-productive and industrial projects in Venezuela.

The arrests follow a series of arrests and investigations recently into corrupt public sector workers, including workers in the tax and customs office, Seniat, the goods and services monitor, Indepabis, and state owned iron ore company, Ferrominera.

Speaking at a “street government” event in Amazonas state, Maduro said that the “fight against corruption” will be “head-on”.

“Whoever is involved in shady businesses and thinks that they can take advantage of the power that the government has given them in order to steal, well, it’s their time now... no one is untouchable, we’re going to give everything to the [fight against] corruption, whether its corruption in a red beret or corruption of the yellow fascist bourgeoisie,” he stated.

Maduro also announced that the Amazonas state police force is “a disaster” and it will be “investigated for crimes and corruption”. The governor of Amazonas is Laborio Guarulla, a member of opposition party Progressive Movement of Venezuela.

A First Justice legislator for Aragua state, Richard Mardo is also being investigated for supposedly receiving 11 cheques and a bank transfer illegally. Activist news site Aporrea asked how the legislator pays for so much radio, newspaper, television, and internet advertising, when “he only earns Bs6,000 per month”.

On 26 June the auditing commission of the national assembly also questioned opposition Merida city mayor Lestor Rodriguez about three denunciations made about alleged administration irregularities. Further, a Merida city councillor, Feliz Barloil, said there are 26 denunciations against Rodriguez in the local courts, 12 of which are for corruption. The mayoralty has not collected rubbish in Merida since July last year, with the mayor claiming he didn’t have sufficient funds.

Aporrea is also facilitating public denunciations from the Esquina Caliente, in Caracas.

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