LIMA, Peru — President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru, testifying just before the country’s Congress on Thursday, created an impassioned plea against calls for his impeachment as he argued against claims that he is linked to a graft scandal that has rattled Latin America.
Mr. Kuczynski, who took office in July 2016, named the claims against him “weak” and mentioned the impeachment proceedings were a technique being utilized by the opposition for political obtain.
“Congress members, do not join this method, do not let yourselves turn out to be confused,” mentioned Mr. Kuczynski, 79. “Those who accuse me will not let their condemnation be subjected to corroboration, to a debate, to due approach.”
His detractors have named the president “permanently morally unfit” to lead the country, arguing that he committed perjury in a congressional inquiry by stating that he had no professional ties to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. It was later revealed that a economic services company he owned had received $782,000 from the firm, which is now at the center of the graft scandal.
The president acknowledges that his firm, the Miami-based Westfield Capital, received the income, but says that the transaction did not violate laws and that it was not a bribe for preferential treatment. His organization was getting run by a enterprise companion at the time, and Mr. Kuczynski stated the firm had offered only consulting solutions to Odebrecht.
Mr. Kuczynski stated that at the time he was testifying in the inquiry, he was unaware that Odebrecht had accomplished business with his company in between 2004 and 2007. Last year, Odebrecht admitted to paying roughly $800 million in payoffs in exchange for lucrative projects, setting off a slew of investigations by prosecutors and lawmakers, principally in Latin America, to reveal who was on the getting finish of the payments.
Peru’s Congress argued that Mr. Kuczynski should be held accountable for receiving the funds, and voted final week to start impeachment proceedings against him. The vote was introduced by the left-wing celebration Frente Amplio, which described Mr. Kuczynski as having “demeaned the presidency.”
Throughout his testimony on Thursday, Mr. Kuczynski said he would be open to an investigation into his finances, but he urged members of Congress to vote against his impeachment, warning that the country would not advantage from a hasty selection.
“The men and women of a nation do not forget or forgive,” Mr. Kuczynski stated.
His attorney, Alberto Borea, appeared alongside him and offered his personal defense of the embattled leader for the duration of practically two hours of testimony. “Not to impeach does not mean not to investigate,” Mr. Borea stated. “The president puts himself at the disposal of the Public Ministry.”
Mr. Kuczynski’s political future is now in the hands of Congress, which is close to having the two-thirds majority — or 87 of 130 votes — needed to get rid of him from office. Soon after his testimony, Mr. Kuczynski left the chambers and lawmakers began an hourslong debate about his future. Congress will then vote on regardless of whether to proceed on the motion to impeach Mr. Kuczynski.
If the vote does not attain a two-thirds majority, the motion is discarded. If authorized, Congress will concern a resolution declaring the presidential vacancy, which will be printed in the state’s official newspaper, El Peruano, within 24 hours. When the resolution is published or is sent to the president — whichever happens initial — he will quickly leave workplace.
Mr. Kuczynski, who was given just days to formulate a defense following the impeachment proceeding were announced, maintained that the consulting services that Westfield Capital offered to Odebrecht did not give Odebrecht a competitive advantage in any dealings.
The president not too long ago acknowledged becoming paid $380,000 by Westfield Capital between 2004 and 2007. He was prime minister of Peru from August 2005 to July 2006, and was economy and finance minister from February 2004 to August 2005.
At the time, the business was getting managed by his business partner, Gerardo Sepúlveda, a Chilean. Mr. Kuczynski maintains that he did not personally approve any contracts with Odebrecht in the course of that time.
Additionally, Mr. Kuczynski maintains that the consulting contracts amongst his organization and Odebrecht involved no unlawful negotiations and have been also signed by Peru’s largest private bank, Banco de Crédito del Perú.
The opposition argues that he broke rules on conflict of interest during his time in public office, each as prime minister and as economy and finance minister.
Before his testimony, Mr. Kuczynski gave a televised statement on Wednesday evening. With both of his vice presidents standing at his side, he declared that neither would accept the presidential workplace if he have been impeached. If that circumstance occurred, the head of Congress would temporarily take the workplace and contact for a basic election.
“I confess that I have not been sufficiently organized, but I am not corrupt,” Mr. Kuczynski mentioned in the televised address. “I apologize with clarity in my thoughts and heartbreak if I did not explain my professional conduct.”
Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 22:00:23 +0000