10 October 2018
Roxana Baldetti, former vice-president, has been jailed for more than 15 years on corruption charges over a $18m government contract to clean up the contaminated Lake Amatitlan. The contract was awarded to an Israeli company. The chemicals being used in the clean up of the lake was chlorine, water and salt. Hence the scandal is dubbed “Magic Water”. Nine others were also jailed including her brother.
The fraud was uncovered by International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), a UN funded organization.
Baldetti, a former beauty queen, resigned in 2015 after Cicig uncovered her corruption. Cicig investigation triggered a social uprising and brought down the government of President Otto Pérez Molina, who remains in Mariscal jail awaiting trial.
President Jimmy Morales decided to end the commission’s mandate next September on the grounds that it was a threat to peace.
Morales, is facing charges of illegal campaign financing and fraud uncovered by the commission. His brother, son and his political party also face corruption charges.
Morales denied re-entry to Cicig chief, Iván Velásquez, in defiance of court orders ruling the ban unconstitutional.