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    Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales speaks to the media after his arrival at Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito, Ecuador, May 23, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 August 2017

The CICIG was created in 2007 to help the nation's criminal justice system fight organized crime, corruption and impunity more effectively.

Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales is due to meet the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday.

There's speculation that Morales will ask Guterres to remove the head of a U.N.-supported anti-graft commission as a probe into alleged corruption by the president’s family continues.

Guatemala: Indigenous Groups Call for Morales’ Resignation

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two government officials told Reuters that Morales will ask Guterres to replace Ivan Velasquez, the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.

The CICIG was created in 2007 to help the nation's criminal justice system fight organized crime, corruption and impunity more effectively.

It is now leading a graft probe into Sammy Morales, the president's brother, and Jose Manuel Morales, one the president's sons.

Guatemala's Attorney General Thelma Aldana and the CICIG will also investigate the nation's political parties on suspicion of illegal campaign financing during the 2015 presidential election campaign.

Speaking at a news conference in Mexico City Velasquez said "We have agreed with the attorney general to initiate an investigation into the electoral campaigns of all political parties in the 2015 cycle."

Aldana said on Tuesday that she would resign if the president ousted Velasquez, whose tenure is scheduled to expire in 2019.

“In our joint work together against corruption and impunity, AG-CICIG have contributed to building a better country. Without independence, there is no rule of law,” Aldana said in a Facebook post.

The Guatemalan presidential spokesman Heinz Heimann told a news conference that Morales would meet Guterres Friday afternoon and discuss issues including how to improve the CICIG.

Heimann added that Moreles aimed to propose a new framework for combating crime during his visit, but declined to say whether he would ask for Velasquez to be removed.

Stephane Dujarric, Guterres' spokesperson, said the U.N. had not received any complaints about Velasquez from Guatemala's government and said Secretary General “heartily commends the work of commissioner Velasquez.”

Guatemalan President Under Pressure over Lobbying Firm Contract

Morales took office in January 2016 and in April of that year asked the U.N. to extend the CICIG's mandate until September 2019.

The commission’s investigations resulted in the 2015 arrest and imprisonment of the former Guatemalan President Otto Perez, former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, and other top officials. 

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