Peru Attorney General files complaint against current head of National Electoral Tribunal for alleged corruption News
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Peru Attorney General files complaint against current head of National Electoral Tribunal for alleged corruption

Peru’s Attorney General’s Office filed a constitutional complaint Friday against Jorge Luis Salas Arenas, the current president of the National Electoral Tribunal (JNE), for the alleged crime of incompatible negotiation or improper use of office to the detriment of the Peruvian state. The complaint follows a preliminary investigation by the Attorney General’s Office into events dating back to 2017, when Salas Arenas was a Supreme Court of Justice judge.

In a statement released on X (formerly Twitter), the Attorney General’s Office clarified that the constitutional complaint against Salas Arenas is for his actions as a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, to ensure that Walter Ríos Montalvo, who was president of the Superior Court of Justice of Callao at the time, hired his former advisor Pavel Cárdenas Peña.

Ríos Montalvo is one of the main figures involved in the “Cuellos Blancos del Puerto” case, a case of alleged corruption in the Peruvian justice system that erupted in 2018. According to the statement, the investigation against Salas Arenas was supplemented by information received in January of this year from the First Office of the Special Prosecution Team investigating the “Cuellos Blancos del Puerto.”

According to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, which had access to the text of the constitutional complaint, the Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Cárdenas Peña worked as Salas Arenas’ “trusted secretary” between February and November 2017, and that immediately after the end of this employment, he began working at the Superior Court of Callao, with the authorization of Ríos Montalvo, until October 2018. The Peruvian newspaper that Ríos Montalvo expressed feeling compelled to accept Salas Arenas’ request to hire Cárdenas Peña due to perceiving an inquisitive tone in the request, which he interpreted as an “order” from a Supreme Court judge who was his superior.

The Attorney General’s constitutional complaint was presented to the Peruvian Congress to initiate an Antejuicio process against Salas Arenas in his capacity as a member of the Supreme Court of Justice, as outlined in Articles 99 and 100 of the Political Constitution of Peru. The Antejuicio process is a mechanism by which the Permanent Commission of Congress can accuse any high-ranking official mentioned in Article 99 of the Peruvian Constitution (including Justices of the Supreme Court) of committing a crime while performing their duties, taking away their immunity. This function now falls under the jurisdiction of the Peruvian Chamber of Deputies, following amendments introduced by Law 31988 on March 20, 2024.

In the Antejuicio process, Congress solely determines the admissibility of the accusation; if approved, the accused individual is subjected to a criminal trial before the Supreme Court.