Probe Fuels More Bickering in Peru’s Presidential Family
Graft allegations targeted at the brother of President Ollanta Humala have sparked a new round of bickering between members of Peru’s ruling family.
A congressional panel yesterday sought permission to investigate Alexis Humala after a report alleged that he’s a shareholder in Krasny del Peru, a pharmaceuticals company that won more than 500 million soles ($191 million) of government contracts. Peruvian law bars relatives of public officials from bidding in state tenders.
Cabinet Chief Juan Jimenez said Aug. 21 that any public officials who favored the company should be severely punished, while congressmen from the president’s own party called for a probe. President Humala’s parents and siblings have become his harshest critics since he took office a year ago and the latest outbreak of family squabbling may damage his popularity, Bank of America said in a note to clients yesterday.
Humala’s father, Isaac, a lawyer and a one-time communist, this week described the allegations against Alexis as “exaggerated” and vowed to defend him. He told Lima-based ATV+ the first lady Nadine Heredia was “drunk on power” after she called for her brother-in-law to be reprimanded if he’s found guilty of wrongdoing. He also called Jimenez an “idiot” for backing the investigation.
‘Same for Everyone’
In a statement on its website, Lima-based Krasny said Alexis Humala is no longer a shareholder in the company and denied winning any contracts illegally. Humala sold his shares a year ago, La Republica reported on its website today.
Still, Alexis Humala will be called to appear before Congress’ health panel, which is also looking into the case.
The president said yesterday he regretted his father’s comments. “The law is the same for everyone. I govern for everyone and not for personal interests,” he told reporters in Lima.
Humala’s first year in office has been peppered with spats with his father and his siblings, who have criticized the one- time ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez for continuing the investor-friendly policies of previous governments.
Isaac Humala said in May the government’s pro-business stance would flounder and urged the president to reject foreign mining investment and boost the state’s role in the economy.
His family has also voiced support for the community protests against Newmont Mining Corp (NEM)’s Minas Conga project which the government has spent the last 10 months trying to resolve.
Even Ollanta Humala’s jailed brother has launched jibes against him.
In comments to Peru21 newspaper in March, Antauro Humala, a former army major who was imprisoned in 2009 for the killing of four policeman during a failed uprising, referred to his brother as “the palace watchman” and said he’d run for the presidency himself in 2016.
Antauro was moved to Peru’s highest security prison weeks later after images that showed him smoking marijuana and using a smart phone threatened to undermine his brother’s popularity.
Isaac Humala alleges that Antauro was tortured during the prison transfer and plans to file a complaint with the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
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