Anticorruption mission starts working in Honduras

International body has been established to investigate allegations of widespread corruption and to allow for actualisation of significant changes in Honduras

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez, left, talks with US Vice President Joe Biden during a photo opportunity after a meeting in Guatemala City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

An international mission aimed at dealing with the struggle against allegations of widespread corruption has been established Monday in Honduras, beginning a four-year mandate with the intention of getting rid of corruptive policies and opening way to significant changes.

Juan Jimenez, a former Peruvian justice minister, will serve as the leader and spokesman for the Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras.

"The (mission) is an unprecedented initiative aimed at producing structural reform in the administration of Honduran justice," Jimenez said. He said that 2 percent of Honduras' gross domestic product, $22 billion in total, vanishes due to corruption each year.

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez signed the agreement with the Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro to establish a mission with connection to OAS to investigate allegations of corruption that reportedly took place in January. This mission will consist of 30 foreign investigators, judges and prosecutors as well as Honduran counterparts.

Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro of Uruguay said in a statement that in seven years, Honduras may be sufficiently able to solve its own corruption cases.

Honduras ranks 112th out of 168 countries in a global corruption index published by Transparency International, a watchdog.

After a big scandal was disclosed in the Central American nation’s social system, protesters took to the street to stand against corruption. Protesters had demanded a United Nations investigation like the one established in Guatemala, but the country’s president agreed to the OAS body. 

Ariel Varela, head of the so-called Indignant Opposition, which led the protests, expressed they didn’t demand such a mission.

"But it is an achievement of the people in the streets and it is what we have," he said.

A similar body had been established by the United Nations in Guatemala which produced illustrative results, including the resignations and arrests of the president and vice-president.

The Honduran mission will decide which cases it looks into, but has let it be known there are 13, including the social security scandal. In that case, some $300 million was allegedly embezzled from the country’s security system.

TRTWorld and agencies