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Guatemala ex-president, 10 cabinet members arrested on corruption charges

[JURIST] The UN International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemala Special Prosecutor for Impunity [official websites], a division of Guatemala's public ministry, on Tuesday arrested former president Álvaro Colom and 10 former cabinet members on corruption and graft charges [official press release, in Spanish], including Alberto Fuentes Knight, the former finance minister who is now the chairman of Oxfam International.

The arrests stem from an investigation [report, PDF, in Spanish] into a bus system known as "Transurbano." Prosecutors alleged that USD $35 million in government money was misappropriated due to lack of proper legal oversight. Nearly $13 million represents unaccounted for equipment and expenses, with the remainder attributed to improper expenses and unused equipment.

The UN commission is an effort to break up what is seen as a network of corruption embedded in the country's political system. Colom, in office from 2008 to 2012, joins other former presidents facing legal problems [JURIST report].

The arrests also include former ministers of defense, economy, education, labor, environment, health and sports and culture. Four other former government officials remain at large.

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