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Former Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom leaves detenion

Colom, 66, left a prison located on a military base north of the capital Guatemala City around midnight, prison spokesman Rudy Esquivel said.


PTI Last Updated at 04-08-2018 13:40:05 IST Guatemala
Former Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom leaves detenion
  • Four companies were given 25-year government contracts to run the services. The buses were allegedly bought at inflated prices. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Former Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom, arrested in February over corruption allegations, left preventative detention yesterday night after his bond was paid, the state penitentiary system said.

Colom, 66, left a prison located on a military base north of the capital Guatemala City around midnight, prison spokesman Rudy Esquivel said.

A USD 133,000 bond had been paid hours earlier.

Colom and 10 other suspects --members of his 2008-2012 government -- were arrested in February on charges related to graft in the public transport system. Most were released on bail.

Colom and the suspects, among them Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, a former finance minister and chairman of Oxfam International, are accused of fraud and embezzlement in the 2009 purchase of hundreds of buses to ply routes in the capital.

Four companies were given 25-year government contracts to run the services. The buses were allegedly bought at inflated prices.

The original plan called for purchasing 3,500 buses, but in the end, only 400 were delivered, and of those only 50 are running, Citizens Action, a Guatemalan group linked to the watchdog Transparency International, reported in February.

Also in 2009, Colom's center-left National Unity of Hope party tried to pass a law exempting the transaction from taxes.

Prosecutors say of the USD 35 million assigned to the Transurban project, USD 13.3 million went toward machinery, while USD 5.7 million went to "incompatible expenses" and USD 1.2 million to private parties.

Investigations continue as the rest of the money "was spent without stating the destination," according to the prosecution.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : Guatemala

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