Thelma Aldama, 63, Guatemala’s presidential candidate and former attorney general, receives an arrest order from a Guatemalan judge, citing the charges of embezzlement, lying, and tax fraud.
According to a Supreme Court official, Judge Victor Cruz issued the warrant on the grounds of corruption inquiry involving hiring. Aldana, who is currently in El Salvador capital, denied the charges and plans to return to her home country on Thursday despite the arrest order when she appeared on CNN.
Shortly after the news on the issuance of the arrest order circulated last Tuesday, Guatemala’s electoral tribunal confirmed Aldana’s candidacy for the upcoming Presidential election in June. The presidential candidacy had granted Aldana with immunity under the Guatemalan law. Aldana, in one of her interviews, said she is not scared and would not take an action against the arrest order. “No, I’m not scared. They’re the ones who are scared. When I go back to Guatemala… I’ll do it with complete calm, I’ll do it without a single problem.”
When she was still an attorney general, Aldana is known for working closely with the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in tackling high-profile corruption. CICIG is an anti-corruption commission backed by the United Nations (UN). Dozens of high-profile cases were brought by prosecutors through the mandate of CICIG. Among those cases was the impeachment of former Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina for involvement in a customs corruption ring charges. Molina was ousted from the office and remains in custody for these charges. Aldana and CICIG also led the investigation of current Guatemala President Jimmy Morales who is a former supporter of CICIG. When Morales was elected three years ago, he supported CICIG. Aldana and CICIG tried to impeach Morales for the campaign, financing link to his election campaign in 2015.
Since CICIG was originally formed to investigate illegal security forces, Aldana would like to ask the United Nations to expand the mandate of the CICIG if she wins in the elections.