2 January 2019

Attorney General Pedro Chavarry dismissed two lead prosecutors who were investigating Odebrecht’s bribery to get lucrative public contracts. The two prosecutors, ex-chief prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez and former fiscal coordinator Rafael Vela, were also leading probes into three other former presidents, Alejandro Toledo, Ollanta Humala and Alan Garcia, and the current opposition leader on suspicion of taking bribes from Odebrecht.

There were widespread street protests by thousands of people in the capital Lima.

President Vizcarra (in picture), who had been attending the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, cut short his trip and returned to Lima to deal with the public uproar.

He said that he would present a bill seeking the state of emergency and asked for legislative support to usher it through quickly and without conflict. A state of emergency would allow the President to quickly and efficiently make changes to personnel he deems necessary to advance the high-profile investigation. Keiko Fujimori led opposition will vote against the bill. It is believed that Odebrecht bankrolled at least one million dollars for her 2011 presidential campaign. France24.com reported.

In early December, the two dismissed prosecutors had reached an agreement with Odebrecht executives who said they would deliver documents exposing bribes made to officials. Prosecutors say the evidence is key to their cases against Fujimori and Garcia.

The two prosecutors also have publicly accused Chavarry of having ties with criminal organizations made up of magistrates and businessmen who bartered power for favours or money.

Transparency International called Chavarry’s move “a huge step backward in the fight against impunity in Peru” and urged the attorney general to reverse his decision.

The Attorney General Chavarry said he removed Perez for questioning his election as attorney general and Vela for supporting him. Chavarry also accused the prosecutors of blocking his request for information on the Odebrecht case, and he said Perez had made statements calling into doubt his objectivity.