Peru: Seven Senior Officials Arrested Due To "Vacunagate" Case

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Peru’s anti-corruption prosecutor Yudith Villegas Espinoza on Sunday called for the arrest of seven former members of the Executive Multi-sectorial Commission, involved in the scandal over COVID-19 secret vaccination “Vacunagate.”

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Espinoza requested the arrest of the rector of Major National University of San Marcos’ Rector Orestes Cachay Boza; Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) former Research Vice-Rector Alejandro Bussalleu Rivera; Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ former Director of Science and Technology Jorge Jarama Alvan; Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti’s former representative Carlos Castillo Solorzano; former representative of the Health Ministry Mario Tavera Salazar; Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ former representative and Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official Oscar Suarez Peña; and former head of the clinical trials team at UPCH German Malaga Rodriguez, who were vaccinated in advance with Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.

The seven former officials are accused of the alleged crime of incompatible negotiation for favoring the Chinese vaccine’s purchase, even when there were other offers with better effectiveness and price, such as Sputnik V or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

The Executive’s Multi-sectorial Commission demanded an impartial purchase recommendation from these officials, which was compromised after their secret vaccination before concluding the contract.

“The former head of the UPCH clinical trial team requested 2000 extra doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, some of which were used to immunize head officials, their associates, and families,” said former Foreign Affairs Minister Mario Lopez.

According to investigations carried out by the Health Ministry, over 497 people were vaccinated in advance and secretly. After knowing this, Peru’s President Francisco Sagasti announced that all those involved in this shameful event would face the courts.

Vacunagate has led to the Health and Foreign Affairs Ministers, some Vice Ministers, and several senior government officials resignations sinking the country in another political crisis.

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